Speaking in public

 

 

“If you can speak, you can influence. If you can influence, you can change lives”, is a quote I have strongly believed in and have always admired people who were very adept at the art of public speaking. There have been instances where I have come across individuals who appeared ordinary at first glance, but given a podium their entire personality underwent a dramatic change suddenly turning into a marvelous speaker whom the gathering listened to in rapt attention.

Incidentally, I have not had enormous opportunities to engage in public speaking and do not know how good or bad a job I would have made out of it. I am a decent speaker in private but there have been certain occasions when I had to speak in front of a congregation and have found that it is not a very easy thing to do. In order to overcome the fear of speaking in public, I have devised my own ways which have led me to successfully handle such situations with considerate ease and would like to share these with you all.

The first task is to be very well prepared on the topic of discussion. No matter how unknown a topic might be, if one makes use of the time at hand, one can with extensive research be very well prepared on it given the tools like search engines and libraries available these days. After the topic is well known, then comes practice. One should repeatedly practice the speech which is to be delivered. It shall be of help if one practices in front of a mirror and practices out loud as if one is speaking to a live audience. As public speaking is a skill and not a talent one can hone one’s skill by repeatedly practicing till one has gained enough confidence to face the audience. One important thing to remember while preparing the speech is that the opening and closing are the most important parts of the presentation and should be practiced till near perfection as the opening helps you get the attention of those present and the ending is what you leave them with after you finish your speech. Also, it does help if one can give the impression that one is speaking from the heart and being oneself. This is not very easy to do but can be done if one is very thorough with the text and has had enough practice.

Mark Twain has said “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech”, this I hope makes very clear the need for consistent practice. Lastly, an important thing which helps in controlling nerves is to have deep breaths before and during the presentation. It additionally adds power and strength to one’s voice.

In today’s world it is really an advantage if one is good at public speaking and just like any skill it can be acquired. If I can, anybody can provided one follows the right path of going about it.

LOVE YOU ALL. !!

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MY PASSION FOR GARDENING

 

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When I started writing here, my aim was to stay connected to my fans directly and so am going to  present a side of mine which is a bit personal and also unknown to many. Today I am going to talk to you all about a favorite pastime of mine which I am sure shall come as a surprise to many of you. It is a very personal hobby which still interests me and I take out time from my schedule whenever I can in order to attend to it. Actually, I can take the liberty of introducing myself as a horticulturist if the need arises but to keep things simple, shall say that Gardening is a hobby of mine.

It all started when I was gifted a small rose sapling by someone. I had it put in a small pot and used to water it on and off but that was it. One day I saw that it had withered away and all my efforts could not revive it. Somehow, I felt very guilty about the whole episode and bought home a couple of saplings of different flowers and meticulously started watering them and watching them every day. Nothing much changed in the initial days but I kept up with my routine. Then one fine morning after getting out of bed I saw a small rose had bloomed in one of the pots. I just cannot describe the joy I had felt at that point in time. It was just a little bud but seeing that in front of my eyes was a moment I still have not forgotten. I literally brought every member of the house to see it and that day no one at my shooting unit was spared until they had heard the story of my rose plant and me. The director whose film I was shooting then was so much impressed that he gave me as many tips as possible as far as home gardening was concerned.

Well, what started off as an accident has now grown into a personal hobby and my collection of plants over the years has grown to include Zinnias, Petunias, Daffodils, Geraniums and Jasmines amongst others. It is such a lovely sight to watch them in full bloom in all their splendid colors. Now – a – days I don’t even have to make an effort to attend to them, it comes automatically to me. Watering them, giving them the right fertilizer, allocating their positions so that they receive the appropriate amount of sunlight etc is something I am quite conversant with. I also have a couple of bonsai’s amongst my collection. The latest thing to have caught my fancy is breeding flowers in order to create a hybrid. I have tried and have not been quite successful as of yet but I still have not given up hope of feeling the joy of seeing a unique creation of mine someday.

Gardening as a hobby is actually food for the soul and makes me feel happy from within. It actually helps me in releasing stress and I am at peace when I am in my little garden. Who knows this hobby may grow much bigger and one day I just might be a full-fledged organic farmer. Life, really is full of its little surprises.

Love you all.

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SELF DEFENSE TRAINING FOR CHILDREN

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Self defense is nature’s eldest law. – John Dryden.

I believe in the age old dictum that a healthy body bears a healthy mind and it is our first duty that we are capable enough to protect our body from any unhealthy intrusion. We are alive as long as there is life in our limbs and taking care of that life becomes not only our foremost right but also our fundamental duty towards ourselves.

Being a family man and also having a young child there have been times when I have worried about his physical well being. I may be there to protect him now but there will surely come a time when he will have to venture out on his own in this world. The world as we all know is cruel in its own way and there shall surely be no favors granted to him and he shall have to make his own path. I am ok with him having to work hard to find his place under the sun, but I get disturbed when I think if he were to face any untoward situation and these are the feelings and fears which every normal father has. These are the times when I strongly feel that a mandatory course on self defense training should be made compulsory as a part of every school curriculum especially in junior/middle school level. These courses may include training in Karate, Taekwondo or Jiu jitsu and also the trainees should be taught how to apply these in real life situations. It is no use being trained in self defense if someone is unable to apply the same when faced with an inappropriate situation. The real life scenario is all the more grave for girls who are actually more vulnerable to face physical violence at home and outside. It is on a regular basis that we come across incidents of women facing abuse in the newspapers and the statistics only reflect a very minor portion of the incidents that happen as majority of the cases go unreported. Hence a proper course in self defense would do them a world of good and make them more confident about their own selves. This is the least we can do so as to make our girls self – reliant.

Having played the character of a Hero in many films I have fought many a time with the so called Bad man onscreen. But enacting a character on screen is very different than what happens in real life. The harsh realities of life are a grim reminder of the fact that we should prepare our younger generation in every possible way so that they can face every challenge that life has to offer and if they are well prepared to protect themselves, then only will they be able to protect others. Today, I end by bringing in front of you a favorite quote of mine by Ronald Reagan who said “Self defense is not only our right; it is our duty.”

Love you all.!!

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CAREER vs PERSONAL LIFE

 

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Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life – Confucius.

I have had the rare privilege of being in a profession which I immensely love. I am aware that everybody is not so lucky and have to thank circumstances and opportunities that led me on to this path. Yet, an actor’s life is full of struggle, hard work and luck which is decided by the Friday verdict at the box office.

During the early phase of my career, I had to put in a lot of hard work to find my place in Tollywood. I worked multiple shifts, often stretching till late into the night while also reporting early morning the next day for the morning shoot. The mind used to get drained along with the tiredness of the body but in those days all that kept me going was – “If hard work is your weapon, success will be your slave.” Thankfully, I didn’t lose my focus and was rewarded with super duper hits like Amarsangi, Biyer Phool, Sindur Khela etc which were followed by Autograph, Moner Manush and Jaatishwar much later on.

One thing that I tried from the very early days of my career was to segregate my work life from the personal space that I share at my home front. In the initial days of my career as an actor my mother and  sister were the ones I turned to after arriving from shoot. It was a stress buster to talk to them about the happenings of the day. In due course of time, I had a family of my own and soon enough, my wife Arpita and son Mishuk became the rocks of my life. It was a lovely experience watching my son grow in front of me and like any other Father, I take pride in his achievements. Having said all these, I have to admit that I would have been much happier if I could have spent more time in their company, in spite of my busy schedule. Also it shall be very much fair to say that, had my family not given me this much space and understood my constraints I could not have pursued my career with so much focus and dedication. So they truly deserve their place under the sun in my share of success.

Stardom, actually is easier to get but difficult to maintain. In order to maintain my position I have relentlessly tried to be resolute in being true to my craft, which has held me in good stead in my professional area. Also, I truly believe that a family is the backbone of an individual and one should not neglect it for the sake of one’s career. Having said that, I am also guilty of the same and would have liked it better if my report card would have been slightly better in this respect.

I shall end by saying that make sure you have a healthy career but at the same time make out time for your personal life as your career is only a part of your life and there are many other parts which deserve due attention.

Love you all. !!

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SHANKHACHIL — Gets Zee Cine and Filmfare awards

 

 

People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards. – Dale Carnegie.

An actor’s life is actually not an easy one. It looks very glamorous to the outside viewer who looks at things from his perspective, but those who have chosen acting as their profession, can only understand the innumerable factors that go into being a success in this field. Primarily we are dependent on getting a good script, backed by a great team and after ensuring that the execution goes as per plan during the production process, have to wait for the audience reaction which is the barometer of a film’s performance. So, after the completion of this entire cycle when a film does good business it makes me very happy but when a film gets noticed and is rewarded by the public, it just gladdens my heart.

Shankhachil, was a movie which was close to my heart. It was great to be a part of a team where Goutam Ghose was at the helm. We all know that many people have faced hardships because of the result of partition. Innumerable families were displaced and many lost their homes. The political situation of those times have found mention in the works of many scholars. It is the human angle that is explored in this film through the eyes of a family which crosses over from the present day Bangladesh side to the Indian side in order to pursue the treatment of their daughter. The circumstances which follow quite efficiently bring out the nuances which constitute human behavior. The visual imagery captured is excellent and the Ichamati river as portrayed signifies a geographical as well as a human divide. The performance of all my co-artists has been excellent, to say the least and the music of the film brings out the Bengali flavor which is the binding element in the entire film.

It was thus a matter of great pride that yours truly was selected for the Filmfare Award 2017 for Best Actor – Bengali and Best Bangla Actor (Male) at the Zee Cine Awards 2017 for Shankhachil. These awards completed a full circle for me as the film was appreciated by many and getting these awards were the icing on the cake. It gives me reason to believe that I am following the right path as far as selection of roles is concerned and the types of films I believe in. Also, it justifies my immense faith in the audience which has always appreciated good cinema. Lastly, these awards act as an impetus and motivates me to perform better in the assignments I take up in the future so that I don’t disappoint someone who spends his hard earned rupee and enters a cinema hall hoping to be entertained by my performance.

Love you all. !!

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GIRL CHILD EDUCATION

 

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One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world – Malala Yousafzai.

Girl child education is an area which is very close to my heart. There is actually a very personal reason behind this which I can share with you all. Actually during my early years, even though I was the son of a star actor, I was not offered anything on a platter. It was during those days that the people who were closest to me were my mother and my sister Maku, around whom my world revolved. In general, women have had a profound effect on my life, so I stand for anything that concerns their well being, education being the most vital one.

This quote echo’s my thoughts clearly – “When you educate a man, you educate an individual and when you educate a woman, you educate an entire family.”  As a woman is the person who actually holds the family together and a mother is the first teacher for a child it becomes very important that she herself is educated enough so as to pass on the right values to her child and give them a proper upbringing. Education makes a woman more aware and self confident with respect to her rights, duties and responsibilities. She can be an equal partner as compared to her husband in the family set up and can contribute to the family income by virtue of her job. Having financial independence is a direct outcome of education which helps a woman to be more in control of her life. She gains respect, recognition and if faced with ill treatment can fight back. In short, it is Education which makes a woman empowered.

Now a days, because of the economics behind it, it becomes very difficult for a single earner middle class family to live a comfortable life. An educated woman with a job has a scope of contributing to the family kitty and God forbid, if the worse were to happen she can still survive with her children, instead of being dependent on others. Education has an exponential effect on the marital life of women, as educated women marry at a later stage and have a say in planning the family, which studies have shown have a direct relation with the reduction of infant mortality rates. One can safely say – An educated mother gives rise to a healthy child.

It is heartening to note that the Government is doing its bit to promote education amongst girls. Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojana, Kanyasri are few examples which have been devised, keeping in mind the interests of the girl child. Let us hope they bear fruit and our little girls of today can be strong women tomorrow, capable enough of taking on the world. Also, let us in our own small way do our bit of contributing to the same.

Love you all. !!

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An Adda session with Soumitra Kaku

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An actor whom I have admired over the years and consider an inspiration has been Soumitra kaku. Our bonding over the years has led to many adda sessions and it was during one such session that we had explored the idea of having an Artist’s forum for the betterment of the artists working in the industry. It is no mean feat that our Bengali film industry has been the provider of many livelihoods and many families derive their sustenance from the movies being made and the entire supply chain that is associated with it. Also, it has been observed, that there are times when a senior actor who has fallen on hard times does not find any resource to fall back upon. So is the case with the technicians who when deprived of work have to face real hardships to run their family. There have been instances when I have done my bit to reach out to those in need, but there has to be an association where everybody associated with Tollywood needs to come together and join hands to ensure that we can help others when needed.

Tollywood, has produced many glorious films but one area over which Soumitra Kaku and myself had many discussions was the difference in the films being made in our times and the ones which were made during his days as a lead actor. We had dissected the works of the leading directors of his times and dwelt on the scripts that were used in those days. It is no doubt that we have made rapid advances in technology, there has been a massive increase in the budget of the films, the marketing and distribution of films has become more organised and scripts have now started to play a pivotal role in cinema. There has been all round improvement, but still the essence that the old films carry have been very difficult to replicate. It is no doubt that music played a very key role in the films of those days and there were legends like Geeta Dutt, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay and Manna Dey amongst others whose melodious voices still linger on. But I shall not be doing justice if I do not acknowledge the contribution made by artists of my generation in taking forward their heritage and improving upon it the best way we can.

The Bengali Film Industry has always been a strong one, it is true that we have had our share of struggle but it is also true that we have survived and prospered, courtesy the love and affection of the fans who have consistently demonstrated their love for good cinema.

Love to you all. !!

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THE LOVE I RECEIVE FROM MY FANS

 

 

An actor acts – the audience watches.  An actor is nothing without an audience.

In my career as an actor, I have experienced many highs, lows, successes and failures. As you all know, I had to struggle very hard during my initial days. Those days have left an indelible imprint on my life and I try my best to be good at my craft.

A major part of the audience which has always appreciated my movies have been the people who live in the suburbs and are cut off from the humdrum of city life. Their simplicity and innocence has always touched me. It is, as if the suburbs have a way of not getting intimidated and accepting the way a city behaves. It develops its own style of functioning and there is a marked difference between the way festivals, religious occasions, social life and cinema are conducted there vis-à-vis a city.

On the occasions that I have been to the different parts of my state to perform stage shows, I have been overwhelmed to see and receive the love and affection that I get from the people there. There have been many occasions when people of all types – young, old and elderly have come to just look at me from close, hold my hand, click photographs, even treat me to homemade delicacies. There have been many times when I have been welcomed by many who got on top of my car, peered through the window to see me from close. Small children have come in front of me and delivered dialogues from my films – even from the ones which had been made in not the recent past. I have found, to my utter surprise many fans standing in the rain with huge cut outs of my pictures, holding posters of my films and listening with bated breath to every word I speak.

These acts of affection which I receive, actually frightens me in some ways. I love these occasions,  as these moments are priceless and an actor yearns for such adulation. But along with this comes a very great sense of responsibility which I have to bear so that I don’t let the people down who look up to me. This is what scares me sometimes and also drives me into bettering my craft and try to be the best in my trade as I am at the day answerable to the audience without whom I would have been nothing.

Love you all. !!

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VALENTINE’S DAY

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Love is just love, it can never be explained. !!

The entire world loves a lover and no one can ever say that he/she has never fallen in love. Love is the the most basic form of emotion which a human being longs for and I have been fortunate to have experienced it in my life in all its colour.

Even though there are many versions about the origin of Valentine’s Day, I shall stick to the one which I felt was the most convincing. During the days of the Roman Empire, around 270 AD when Rome was ruled by Emperor Claudius II young men were discouraged from getting married as Claudius felt that single men were better soldiers than married folk. Incidentally there was a man in the clergy, Bishop Valentine who held a different opinion and performed many marriages in secret. This was soon discovered and he was sentenced to death. During his stay in prison, he met and fell in love with the daughter of the jailor. He was executed on February 14th and just before he was led to the gallows, he sent a note to her. In it was written – “From Your Valentine”. That is the power of love, an emotion which knows no boundaries of colour, creed, religion or language. In the year 496 AD Pope Gelasius in order to honour St. Valentine, officially declared 14th February as Valentine’s Day. Thus was born a day which is now celebrated the world across, as a day dedicated to love and lovers.

It gives me profound happiness whenever I get the chance to see young people in love. Their innocence touches me and then I look back at my younger days when things were simpler and the smallest of things made us happy. In my professional space I have been fortunate to essay the role of a lover in many films with various directors and I feel blessed that it has been appreciated by the audience.

From a personal perspective, I am in a happy space with my family members being my regular Valentines and I enjoy spending this day with my spouse and son. Of course my pocket becomes a lot lighter as I have to spend on flowers and chocolates.

Lastly, to my fans who have always showered me with so much love and affection, wish you all a very     “HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY”. Enjoy the day with your loved ones and shower them the love and affection they deserve.

Love you all. !!

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Happy New Year

Time, as they say is the best teacher and it is time that always slips from our hands.  The time spent in the current year has been a generous mentor and I have been a much benefitted student as the current year gives way to the coming new year.  There have been many moments in this year which I cherish very deep in my heart. As I have always been surrounded by this obsessive desire to be associated with  good cinema, I have been fortunate that beautiful characters came my way which I tried to portray the best way I can.

A new year, as they say is like an open canvas which we can paint the way we want to. I happen to have some New Year resolutions which I intend to keep – that of being associated with meaningful cinema which appeal to viewers and satisfies my craving as an artist. My inner fire to continuously explore new characters and genres, be it the role in Jaatishwar,  Moner Manush or Shankhachil gives me the mental food which justifies my existence  each time I face the camera to give that perfect shot. As I sincerely live and breathe cinema, I intend to test my limits as an actor in the coming year.

New year is a time which we spend with family, friends, near and dear ones and feel happiness all around. It is a time when we put the memories of the year gone by into the recesses of our memory and look forward with hope and expectations towards the year ahead. I, being a human also share the same feelings and as I am emotional by nature I hope for only good things to happen in the coming year for all near and dear ones, fans, technicians and everybody in general.

Our capability to forget is probably one of the most underestimated of all the human capabilities as this enables us to forget the bad moments that come our way. In due course we hope for better things to come in the future and it is because of this expectation that we have the strength to overcome the challenges that life throws at us. It is with this hope that I look forward to the new year that all will be well.

Wish you all a very happy new year 2017.  Love you all !!