Kay Kay Menon is solid as ever essaying a complex role in the segment “Bahrupiya” of the anthology series “Ray”. The episode is based on late legend Satyajit Ray’s short story in Bangla titled “Bahurupi”, or the impressionist, and comes laden with an element of fantasy. The actor decodes how he faced the challenge of essaying a brutally realistic role that treads into the domain of make-belief.
“I have an easy way that can also be called the escapist way. I look at a story as a story. I removed the baggage. I look at it as (director) Srijit (Mukherji)’s interpretation of the story and that’s the newspaper headline for me,” Kay Kay tells IANS.
The story casts the actor as a timid make-up artist named Indrashish Saha, who inherits a strange book on prosthetic expertise when his grandmother passes away, along with a substantial amount of money. Reality and fantasy fuse in the storyline, and Indrashish is sucked into a vortex of doom as he begins to imagine he is invincible and starts abusing his newfound ‘power’ to ‘become’ anybody he wishes.
The 54-year-old actor addresses the element of make-belief about the story saying: “Even in a newspaper, you often see headlines that are unimaginable, right? You believe it because it is in the newspaper. Similarly, for me, the story becomes factual at that point of time. I try to remove all other baggage attached to it.”
He says he knew he was immersing himself into the work of the legendary Satyajit Ray, but at the time of filming he was focussed more on being directed by Srijit Mukherji.
“I kind of pin that out and concentrate on just performing for that story and playing that person so I keep my concentration there. I get saved by the little fear and paranoia of touching somebody’s work. I know that it has come from Ray sahab and everybody knows how great he was but at that point it’s Srijit directing and Kay Kay Menon acting and playing a person — that is it,” he says.
Asked how one takes Ray’s work to today’s viewers, many of whom are not aware of the auteur’s cinema, Kay Kay says Ray’s creativity always stays contemporary and can never be dated.
“That’s the beauty of Ray sahab. He is contemporary and will be contemporary throughout. So, all his topics, whatever he touched upon, will never be dated. The style might be different, the interpretation might be different but at a conceptual level he has nailed it for generations to come,” Kay Kay says.
“One of my favourites is ‘Nayak’,” he says, referring to Ray’s 1966 classic starring Uttam, Kumar and Sharmila Tagore, and adds, “because the film concerns the film industry, actors’ dilemmas and trauma including the acting style. For me, everything he has done till now will always remain contemporary,” Kay Kay concluded.
(Durga Chakravarty can be contacted at email@example.com)