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‘I couldn’t afford to be intimidated by Kajol ma’am’: Helicopter Eela actor Riddhi Sen 

Actor Riddhi Sen won a National Award this year for the Bengali film Nagarkirtan, and is now waiting for the release of Helicopter Eela. He might not be a known face in Mumbai, but he is prominent Bengali film personalities Reshmi Sen and Kaushik Sen’s child. The 20-year-old actor spoke to us about playing Kajol’s son on the screen and the relationship he shares with his own parents. 

Helicopter Eela comes right after your National Award win. Is there a pressure to deliver a good performance?

First of all, people are not sure what I won the award for! Nagarkirtan will be out around December-January. So, some think it’s for Helicopter Eela. Initially, I was worried about how my performance would be perceived because of the National Award tag, but my outlook towards work hasn’t changed.

Describe the moment when you found out you had won…

I was on the sets of Helicopter Eela, filming an extremely intense scene. I got the call and it took me a while to believe it. I didn’t even know the awards were being declared that day. But, I went straight back to work after the celebrations and the calls.  

What was Kajol’s reaction to your victory?

I told Dada (Pradeep Sarkar) and he announced it on the mic. Shoot rukvaayi and she came, hugged me and screamed more than I did. Everyone rejoiced. 

Helicopter Eela isn’t your first Hindi film…

Yes, I’ve done films before this but was never recognised. I did Farook Shaikh’s last film Children of War, Onir’s Chauranga, Parched — where I had a negative character — and Sanjay (Dutt) sir’s comeback project Bhoomi, where I again had a villainous role. This is my fifth film. 

Did you miss playing the lead?

I’ve toplined in Bengali films. In Helicopter Eela, I play the second most important character. Today, the concept of playing a lead or supporting actor is shattered. It doesn’t matter if you are on the screen for two minutes or hours; if you’re good at your job, the audience will love you. Often, there are interesting characters that aren’t the lead — like Rajkummar Rao in Bareilly Ki Barfi. The actors in my family advise me to see what my characters have to contribute to a project instead of running after screen space. 

Do you discuss your films with your dad?

No. I’m the luckiest person because my parents never interfere with my work. They have taught me to be independent and ask me not to go to them after signing a project. They want me to build the equation with my director because only he has the vision of what my character should be like. 

How was the experience of shooting with Kajol?

She’s a bundle of energy. When I met her, all the visuals from her films flashed in my mind. Although initially I was, I couldn’t afford to be intimidated by her. We play mom and son, so we had to be frank with each other. She has an amazing sense of humour and when she takes off, you see the real human being. Then the image of a celeb just wipes out. She doesn’t behave like a star and gives you the liberty to do what you want in a scene. She broke the ice with me. You end up loving her. 

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