I pray my hunger for acting remains till my last breath - Prosenjit Chatterjee

Bengali matinee idol Prosenjit Chatterjee, who has completed 35 illustrious years in the industry and acted in close to 350 films, feels he still has a lot to offer as an actor and wishes that his "overwhelming hunger for acting" remains till his last breath. Participating in his very first talk show on stage on Saturday evening, Prosenjit nostalgically recalled different stages of his acting career through the evolving phases of Bengali cinema.

"Many of us have been fighting non-stop as actors, filmmakers, producers to reach out to the audience. I have worked with three generations of directors in my career and even today when I meet a new director with a flair, I ask him whether he is interested doing a film with me. I wish my overwhelming hunger for acting remains till my last breath," Chatterjee said at the talk show organised by the GD Hospital And Diabetes Institute here.

Noting that Bengali cinema once made its presence felt on the world stage with films made by the 'revered trinity' -- Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen, Chatterjee said that recent trend of work shows the industry is on the path to recover its lost pride.

"New actors and directors are doing very high quality work and many of their films have got recognition at national and international forums in recent years. It can be said that we are fighting our way back against the criticism that the standard of Bengali cinema is not up to the mark," Chatterjee said. "I would urge the audience to be supportive of Bengali cinema and Bengali culture. It is the love and blessings of the audience that has inspired actors like me to keep working and adapt to the changes on the way," he said.

Chatterjee, who made his debut with Bengali director Bimal Roy's Duti Pata (1983) -- a teenage romance along the lines of Bobby, said such was his love for acting and cinema that during his early years he sometimes shot for more than 20 hours a day. "It is a fact that in spite of being in Kolkata, I could not return home for 16 days at a stretch as I was shooting for films back-to-back. I used to stay back at the studio in those days," he said. Asked whether he would like to join politics given his proximity to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Chatterjee said he would not as he believes one should stick to the work one is best at.

"I will say 'Amake aamar moto thakte dao' (let me be the way I am)," said Chatterjee quoting a famous song of one of his films.    - IANS