Anirban Bhattacharya has started 2020 exactly where he left off in 2019-- putting in a great performance in a Srijit Mukherji film. After his successful portrayal of a journalist in Durga Puja 2019 release Gumnaami, Anirban has again grabbed eyeballs with his memorable turn as Khoka in Dwitiyo Purush. As audiences applaud his big-screen feats, few know that Anirban Bhattacharya is also an avid theatre actor. Not just acting, Anirban is equally passionate about directing plays. His latest direction is Pontu Laha 2.0, a play adapted from Bertolt Brecht’s ‘Herr Puntila and his Man Matti’.
“There is a dichotomy in the play which parallels recent Indian politics. We have upgraded the play to make it more urban. The second half has been completely revamped. We have experimented with the form as well, bringing in elements of Bengali pop culture. But Pontu Laha 2.0 is still in essence a Brecht play,” says Anirban. The text has been adapted by Nihar Bhattacharya.
Preparations for Pontu Laha 2.0 went on for nine months in 2019, alongside Anirban’s various film commitments. How does he plan to balance his two passions, films and theatre, as he gets more and more big-screen offers? Anirban smiles, “I don’t think I can get any busier than I already am! If I can find time for theatre now, I will do so in future too. Directing plays especially is my passion. I don’t want to leave it.”
Pontu Laha 2.0 has had three successful shows and is looking at a fourth show in mid February. Meanwhile, Anirban is satisfied with his performance in Dwitiyo Purush. He says, “The character I played in Dwitiyo Purush is completely different from what I am. To play someone like that in a believable manner is quite satisfying. I have received good feedback from the audience too.”
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