Eshika who has appeared in Bengali and Hindi films as well a web shows, including ‘Laal Kaptaan’ and ‘Sacred Games’ speaks to ETimes.
What is the plan for Ranu Mondal’s biopic? Where are you going to shoot?
We are shooting mostly in Ranaghat, Kolkata and parts of Mumbai. It will be partly done in real-life locations.
There were reports that you have replaced Sudipta Chakraborty as the lead in this film.
I wasn’t their first choice. It was Sudipta di (Chakraborty) who was supposed to be in the biopic, it was published everywhere in 2019, I guess. Maybe due to some problem with her schedule dates, Sudipta has stepped down. The film plan has been through a lot. It was initially planned in 2019 then 2020 happened and the lockdown was there. Now it’s being made in Hindi instead of Bengali. This time they approached me and I really had no idea. It was Shomin Ghosh who approached me and that’s it!
Is the film going to feature Himesh Reshammiya’s character?
We are approaching him as informed by my director. So, let’s see and hope for the best.
This will be your debut lead role in a Hindi feature film. How excited are you about this opportunity?
I’m very excited, but first of all, I have to reduce 10 kg in 2 months for the film.
How do plan on achieving this stark body transformation?
I’m going on a strict diet for 2 months, starting tomorrow with my dietician. Actually, this is the only thing about the film that I’m scared about. I love food and going by my social media posts, you will understand how much I love cooking and eating. Apart from food, there’s also going to be a whole change in my lifestyle with lots of exercise and meditation. It’s going to be a challenge with my personal life, as I stay alone in Mumbai; I don’t even have a maid or boyfriend.
Mentally too, I need to prepare myself because I need to relate myself with Ranu’s past life, which we are going to be focusing more on. To translate the story of a person who has been sitting on a station platform for 12 long years and singing-begging and then suddenly her video goes viral! While she does become a social media star but later she faced criticism and adversity due to certain comments. Without getting into a debate about what was right and what wasn’t, we are trying to portray what a person can go through psychologically after experiencing so much in life. For this role, I am taking help from my psychological coach Komolika Bhattacharya who is helping me with the emotions of this character.
So have you met Ranu Mondal?
Not yet. Since there are a lot of restrictions and I’m in Mumbai and she is in Ranaghat (West Bengal), so we are going to meet virtually.
How is she doing now?
I will be able to answer it better once I start spending more time with her. I have signed up for this film just yesterday. Everything is happening so fast that I haven’t even read the entire script twice. I just underwent a minor surgery, so a lot has happened too quickly.
When you are starting the shoot?
Do you have any concerns about going back on a set, post Covid?
Not at all. I already had the virus and have recovered from it. In fact, my entire family had tested positive. I am dying to get out and work. I just need the opportunity. We can’t live in fear anymore.
When is Ranu Mondal’s biopic expected to release?
Somewhere around March-April 2022.
Ranu Mandal was shot to fame because of her voice. Are you a singer, too?
I‘m a good singer but only in the bathroom.
People feel Bengalis are born singers.
I can’t call myself a singer, but I learnt Rabindra sangeet for 5-6 years during my childhood.
Are you under the pressure or at ease that you are a Bengali and you have to essay the role of someone from your community? Are you expecting it to be an easy or difficult task?
There’s no pressure at all. I am only worried about the weight loss and getting the psychological trauma of the character right. I’m looking at this project as an opportunity to perform. Ranu is a wonderful and thrilling character with many shades and ups-downs, just like what we have in real life. I believe people will be able relate to her. The preparation is difficult but I hope I can pull it off!