His portrayal of a poker-faced contract killer in Kahaani has been loved by all and the internet is abuzz
with tit-bits related to his character Bob Biswas, but Bengali actor Saswata Chatterjee says he had no
idea his role would become so popular.
Besides being compared to cult villains like Gabbar Singh and Mogambo, Saswata's role of a harmless-looking, pot-bellied insurance agent who kills for money, has prompted various jokes and one-liners on the internet.
Facebook and Twitter pages dedicated to Bob Biswas have thousands of followers.
"We had never expected that the character would become so popular. I do not use computer much, but I am slowly becoming aware of the popularity of Bob Biswas and the jokes on the internet. I feel like Alice in Wonderland, it's a dream which might end someday," Saswata said.
In the film, the cellphone proves to be a tool for Bob Biswas as his prospective victim's photo is sent to him via MMS, but in real life Saswata doesn't even use a mobile and has only a landline number as a point of contact.
"Bob's use of the cellphone to identify his target shows how the gadget can be misused. I am better off without one."Saswata added.
Son of veteran Bengali actor Shubhendu Chatterjee, Saswata, who has a sizeable body of work in the Bengali film industry, says he was surprised when this role was offered to him.
"When I came to know that director Sujoy Ghosh wanted me for a role in a Hindi film, I was very surprised. I had never met him before. When he described the role to me I asked why me? There are so many good actors in Bollywood! It was all very sudden," says Saswata.
Bob's USP lies in the fact that no one can imagine him as a contract killer, which adds to his ruthlessness, and Saswata says that's how the character should have been.
"I have never played such a ruthless character before, but I didn't face any difficulty, as I believe that a person who kills for money is very matter-of-fact about the job. The characterisation was nicely done - Bob doesn't look like a criminal and that works in his favour. It is a beautifully written part and I am lucky I got it."
A graphic novel is in the making inspired from Bob's character.
"I think this is the first time a movie character has inspired a graphic novel. This is also because such a role has never been seen before on screen," says Saswata.
Saswata says while watching Kahaani later he himself got scared by his portrayal.There's a scene where Vidya (Balan) is standing on the metro platform and Bob emerges slowly from behind her, I got scared seeing myself on screen. The credit of course goes to the director and the cameraman for infusing the shock value."
The actor, who has starred in films like Dosar and Bong Connection, says even though Kahaani is a serious thriller, the crew had a lot of fun while making it.
"Vidya is such a big name, but she never made us feel that. We worked as a team and had a lot of fun. Both of us were sporting huge bellies in the film so we used to joke about that. And Sujoy is just like the guy next door. He is so mad he would start dancing in the middle of an ongoing shot without any reason!"
Saswata has a number of Bengali films at hand and he remains busy round the year. "But I will take up Hindi films if I am offered, provided I don't upset my prior commitments here," he said.