Actor Jeetu Kamal continues to reach new heights in his career with his transformation as Satyajit Ray in the film Aparajito by director Anik Datta. Inspired by the true story of the making of legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s BAFTA-winning directorial debut Pather Panchalic“Jeetu stepped into Ray’s shoes and his casting was nothing short of a blessing. He told Hindustan Times: “I was the second option. The creators wanted an artist when Abir Chatterjee left the project due to problems with his schedule. I had no idea at first, but I was lucky.”

Aparajito performed remarkably in theaters in West Bengal and abroad. Jeetu’s portrayal as Aparajito (based on Satyajit Ray) has made people refer to him through his character. “I’ve never played a character like that. As much as people have loved my character Aparajito, I would never want anyone to call me Aparajito. It’s great that people praise me as Aparajito, but I’d rather stay Jeetu, as an actor I would never want anyone to forget my name and start calling me by my character’s name.”

(Read also: Aparajito Actor Debashis Roy on His Struggles

So, how did Jeetu prepare to play as Satyajit Ray? “To play Satyajit Ray, the legend, I needed some special attention. Just like I used to prepare for exams in school, I had to stay up late at night and go through a lot of audiovisual material, books and manuscripts. I wish I had more time to prepare.”

Audiences have always been brutally honest about actors trying to play the roles of icons. However, it made no difference to Jeetu. “I never doubt my work. I, as an actor, think of my own creative satisfaction first. I know it’s too important for Bengal – Paan theke chun khosle pore (if something goes wrong even for a second) it can be a risky business. But what is life without risk? I am very fearless and confident about my work.”

A still from Aparajito.
A still from Aparajito.

Jeetu believes that a lot of attention was initially paid to his appearance rather than his acting skills before the film came out. Jeetu underwent surgery to change his teeth for Aparajito, one of the many things done to embody Ray. “Yes, I had to change my teeth, but more than that, I had to spend sleepless nights preparing for the film, I had to go through a lot. Actors all over the world do it for their projects, I’m no different. I think Indian actors often don’t talk about these things to avoid unwarranted promotion. You will find many BTS video clips of Jackie Chan injured on the sets, you will not find the same for Shah Rukh Khan or Prosenjit Chatterjee or even Jeet.

Aparajito has become an undeniable turning point for Jeetu Kamal, which he does not want to let go. “I got so much from this character. I am disappointed when I think of leaving. But we have to do that as an actor, that’s what our profession requires. It will always stay with me.”

Jeetu has yet to finish his next project after the success of Anik Datta’s directing and he is not worried about people’s expectations. “The public will always have expectations of a good project. I’ve always been picky about my projects. Many directors might think I’m a snobbish. But it isn’t, why should I eat something I can’t digest? I am ready to live on an empty stomach instead of eating something wrong and harming my health.”

The actor debuted in 2010 with ETV Bangla’s Niyoti. In the same year, he appeared in Prosenjit starrer-Jor Jar Muluk Tar. Whether it’s a big screen or a small one, Jeetu said he will always be open to “good projects.” “The power of a small screen is beyond our imagination. It can connect you with rural India. The only problem is that people might not remember you when the show is over. The small screen makes more money. Why do you think actors work on small screen projects? They are not stupid. I couldn’t sign films before because I was very busy with series. Thanks to the pandemic, I got some time and did Aparajito. But these days I feel a little depressed. I think I miss the TV industry.”


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