Washington, Jan 28: British-born US-bred actor Samrat Chakrabarti plays two contrasting roles in two new films releasing in India Friday – South Indian icon Kamal Hassan’s “Vishwaroop” and Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta’s “Midnight’s Children”.
Chakrabarti, who is headed to Mumbai for the release of the two films plays “Deep”, a wealthy, slick, wheeling-and-dealing businessman who gets more than he bargains for in “Vishwaroop”.
And in “Midnight’s Children” based on the novel by controversial author Salman Rushdie, Chakrabarti plays “Wee Willie Winkie,” a poverty-stricken street musician who sings for his supper in the 1940s.
“2013 is proving to be an incredible year so far, especially since I never thought both my latest films would open in the same city on the same day,” said Chakrabarti, who is also a musician and a playwright.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the likes of Salman Rushdie, Deepa Mehta, and Kamal Hassan, all the while playing characters that are completely different from each other,” he said.
“I feel lucky to be a part of both of these films and am excited to be in Mumbai for their releases. My parents left India to pursue their dreams, and years later, I have come to India to pursue mine. Full circle!”
Chakrabarti was seven years old before he saw an actor on the big screen he could relate to; that was a young Amitabh Bachchan, in “Namak Halal”.
He began watching more Indian cinema, particularly that of fellow Bengali Satyajit Ray, and soon began dreaming of becoming an actor himself.
He began performing onstage in his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts, acted throughout college at Brandeis University, and went on to receive an MFA in Acting from Harvard University.
He has appeared on numerous American TV shows, including ’30 Rock’, ‘In Treatment’, ‘Bored to Death’, ‘Law & Order’, ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘All My Children and Damages.’
Last February, he made the winners’ list of the Triangle Media Group’s Global Awards, honouring South Asian achievements in arts and sciences.
Chakrabarti has also won several awards for his compositions, including a US CARA (The Classification & Rating Administration) award for Best Original Pop/Rock Song, for the song “What’s It all About.”
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)