When Sanjana learnt Bengali like a Pro
Prep and Bengal, Dil Bechara
For her prep, Mukesh told Sanjana who plays a Bengali girl in Dil Bechara, “I need you to speak, understand, and participate in Bengali culture, like a Bengali would.” And Sanjana recalls, “feeling frustrated with him initially as to how he can place such a tough demand
on me.” But as they say when the going gets tough the tough get going.
What followed was a gruelling 6-7 months of work day after day. Workshop and training with NK Sharma Sir, aka Pandit Ji of Act One group of
the National School of Drama for a couple of months, for -7 hours a day. Alongside, initial basic Bengali lessons with a Bengali diction teacher in Delhi itself, and then workshop extensively with Mukesh in his acting workshops. And then serious diction training with Sushmita Sur, an NSD graduate and immaculate actor herself.
Sanjana says with visible pride, ” Finally at the end of those 6-7 months of rigorous prep work every single day, I’d reached a point where I could comfortably converse and improvise scenes in Bengali with Swastika and Shashwata Da, who are playing my parents in the film and are veteran Bengali actors themselves – they didn’t know I was from North India, and I remember the first time, Swastika telling Mukesh, “Good you picked a Bengali girl to play Kizie, would have been tough to get that touch otherwise”. And that was the biggest compliment I could possibly get at the time.”
She adds, “Being from New Delhi, and growing up here all my life, stepping into Kizie’s Bengali shoes was something I was keen on doing most justice
to. When we got onto set finally – I understood why truly learning the language was so
crucial, I never felt lost, I always understood what my parents were discussing in Bengali, I
could add to the beats, I could decide for myself what’s right and what’s not – it was so challenging to achieve, but it finally helped me feel empowered.”