In the midst of lockdown, the government of India recently announced that many television shows from the 90s such as Byomkesh Bakshi, Circus, Ramayan, Mahabharat, would screen on Doordarshan again, thereby bringing back many nostalgic memories for those who grew up watching the above-mentioned television content.

During an exclusive interaction with International Business Times, Rajit Kapur shared with us the simpler times in the film industry, when the creative departments did not face any kind of interference from the non-creative departments. 

Rajit Kapur

In the national-award-winning film Uri: The Surgical Strike, directed by Aditya Dhar he was also seen in the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. in the latter part of this interaction, he shared that despite being an important political figure in contemporary world politics, the Prime Minister's presence in the film was not the centre of attraction in the Vicky Kaushal starrer film. 

So Byomkesh Bakshi will be back on television, how do you feel?                                                        Very strange, because it has been over 25 years, but it is good in a way. More people will be able to see it.

Over the years various actors in the Bengali film industry have played the role of Byomkesh Bakshi. When you watch their content what kind of additions or subtractions do you wish you had?

I don't look at it that way. Everything that has been a part of literature is open to interpretation and there are always different kinds of interpretations. And there should be. It cannot be the same. Just because I played him (Byomkesh Bakshi) does not mean that somebody else has to make it in the same manner. It's like any classic which will be made again like Devdas, it will be made again and that will be their own interpretation.

What about technology, camera lightings?

Obviously there's going to be a big change, today we have gone far ahead in technology so there will be technological differences. That's obvious.

How did you get the role of Byomkesh Bakshi?

I think my name was suggested by Mr Soojit Sen, who was one of the writers of the series called Yugantaar. and also Subhankar Ghosh who had directed Yugantaar. They both suggested my name to Basu Chatterjee.that's how I went to meet him.

So you went for an audition?

No. I just went to meet him, chatted with him. He told me that he wants me to play Byomkesh Bakshi and he asked me to come. That' when he gave me all the episodes, I was given all 33 episodes to read at a short span of time. Which is rare because in today's time people don't give you all the episodes to read, when you are playing a character. But he had got these translated and all 33 episodes were ready with complete dialogues. 

Do you think that this kind of seriousness is lacking in today's times while making television scripts today?

Of course, most definitely. Because now we create a bank, after that lots of interference from various creative departments who probably has no idea about creativity at all. So you have big production houses, then you have channels, where everybody wants to be the director. So, as a result, there are no directors. Because they don't have any direction. Because there are too many people trying to create the same thing. It's not one person's vision and if there are so many people it will get hotchpotch and khichdi only.

Is it the same when it comes to film scripts?

Well, I think over the time film people have become more serious, they understand the work and effort that goes into a script and the long term benefits of that. But now in web-series again, suddenly because now everyone is making web-series, you know it is the right of an actor to read the episodes and the scripts. So either they are not ready or they don't want to allow you to read them. It was far systematic when we were doing Byomkesh Bakshi, Khandaan. Because everything was done in collaboration with all the departments and the actors, it was teamwork. Now there's just too much of interference. So finally what you are creating is you are creating a mess most of the time.

So you also played the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. How did you prepare for that?

Look the preparation was not taking his entire personality into account it was one very small aspect, the man behind closed doors the kind of planning the strategist in him. so it was one small part of him that had to be like this. It was not something with any kind of great preparation or anything, because the physicality, the makeup, or the dress gives you the indication that he is our Prime minister, that is important. But its the person who is the long time planner that is highlighted it. That's all.

What other shows do you wish to see in DD again?
Malgudi Days, Khandaan, Duniya these are the shows made their mark during that time when I was in college.

So what are you doing in the midst of the lockdown?
I'm' cleaning, cooking, reading. So many things to do. You have to make good use of the time.