Barkha Bisht Sengupta and Indraneil Sengupta came together to play a reel-life couple in the film Choices. It narrates the story of a couple during the lockdown and on the fact of it, it does look very simple, but it sure does have layers to it. Barkha, while talking to India Forums, told us about shooting experience, her equation with Indaneil on-sets, and a lot more.
Choices was shot in the middle of the lockdown without any direction/ production team. How has been the experience?
During the lockdown, people wanted to experiment & do something. A lot of movies were shot but we sure were apprehensive because we weren't sure how we would do it. That is when Damini & Raaj came to us with this idea. We shot the movie right during the midst of the lockdown when no visitors were allowed, nobody was allowed to come home, so Indraneil & I had to shoot the film on our own while Damini & Raaj gave us instructions through the laptop. We were actors, we were the cameraman too, which was the tricky part. We had our directors online guiding us. We're actors first so setting up a frame, check for lighting doesn't really come naturally to us. We found this really challenging. It was a new experience nevertheless. We learnt something new...this experience. It was teamwork.
Indraneil & you play a couple in the movie, how much could you two relate to it?
Indraneil & I were together for so long after a really long time because either of us were working & there is only so much time we could spend together in the pre- covid time. When you watch the film, many couples will probably relate to it. We've all faced this, sharing household chores, confined to the house, it did change or alter relationships for many. Sometimes you're working together in sync & other times you're simply getting on each other's nerves. Be it normal public or celebrities, we've all sailed in the same ship. As a real life couple, playing a reel life one, not entirely but we could relate to some part of it.
How was it working with your spouse, play your husband in Choices?
Indraneil & I are very different types of actors. It does get tough sometimes working together as his vision for a scene would be slightly different than mine but the comfort that you have is the good thing. If I have doubts, any inhibitions ..it is always easier to communicate. It is always easy to suggest things to each other or share feedbacks. Indraneil is a brilliant actor so it's always a pleasure working with him.
What was the mood while shooting like, any anecdotes?
We would have this fun tiff. Damini & Raaj would give us placements of the camera, so when Indraneil would shoot my close-ups, I'd always complain that I don't look good & when it was my turn to shoot his, I'd walk up to him & tell him what a good job I did. This was perpetual banter. I'd tell him that I make him look good & pat came to his reply, 'I am good looking anyway.' Four of us had a great time.
How do you think the pandemic has affected relationships. What is your take?
The pandemic has changed how we value our relationships. It has affected interpersonal relations like never before. There is definitely a deeper sense of bonding. You're in a house spending 24 hours of every day with your partner, your child.. There's no friends, no family. But again we all have irritating habits, we have our pet peeves, so when you spend so much time with the same person under the roof, you realise there are certain things you do not like about the other person....which is fine because it just helps you understand the other person better.
How similar are you & Indraneil with the characters in Choices?
I don't think I'm quite like the character I play on screen, the girl you see in choices is a workhorse, work before everything...she's ambitious, which is not me really, I'm just the opposite. For Indraneil to play the house husband in the film, he's just the opposite of that in real life. Our characters are diametrically opposite onscreen.
How has it been like working with a director, Damini Shetty from across the screen?
I have to give credit to Damini, for a director to not be physically present while shooting a scene & to do everything online over a phone camera is extremely challenging. To be there while the scene is being shot, to correct the actors, to make them do what you want them to do, I wouldn't say it is easy but it is easier than being online & to do all of it. The whole day she would just be online with us. It is extremely time-consuming to be shooting like that, for the actor & the director. And to have the patience, because we would shoot something & show it to her, then she would correct & we would re-shoot it & repeat the cycle. Damini has been really patient with us. Indraneil & I did lose our patience after a point, we'd wonder what were we doing wrong, it was taxing for us but Damini steered us through, calmed us & pushed us to try it again. When you're shooting in challenging circumstances, I think it helps to have a director like Damini who can help our ship sail through.