Thursday, July 18, 2024

A conversation with Ravi Sharma- Famous Assamese Actor

Robin Bhuyan (Editor)

Krishnakshee Sarma (Sub-editor)

Naba Kumar Sarma (Staff reporter)

Ravi Sharma is a name that needs no introduction in Assam. One of the most prominent figures in the Assamese film industry, he has acted in various films throughout his career such as Hiya Diya Niya, Nayak, Aami Asomiya, Tumi Ahibaane, and the recently released crime thriller Sri Raghupati, which was a huge success at the box office. Enigmatic Horizon recently had a conversation with the actor, regarding his career and several aspects of cinema as well as the Assamese industry. Let us take a look….

EH: First of all, we would like to ask you how exactly you were inspired to get involved with Sri Raghupati.

RS: Whenever we start a business, we look at the market to find out what is lacking. I have been in the world of drama and cinema for a long time. I have been observing that despite having so many fantastic filmmakers, we have always been working with budget constraints. This is why many directors start making art films, and those who are interested in making commercial cinema, continue to work under budget constraints. So I was looking for a script that can give us an impactful story, under a limited budget. Plus, due to my years of experience in the industry, I have a lot of data, which allows me to know whether people will connect to a story or not. Thus, I got in touch with film director Subrat Kakati, who has a completely different perspective on cinema, and is always trying to do something new. He is one of the main reasons why the film is a success. Basically, I would say that Raghupati is not just my dream, but the dream of several people from Assam, which is why it is such a big success.

EH: We would like to ask you about your previous film Black and White, which had left many people in confusion. So, are we going to see a sequel?

RS: The thing is that Black and White was actually meant to be a web-series, which we had no intention of releasing in theatres initially. The first season was only meant to be an introduction for my character, and yes, we are hopeful that we will see the sequel soon.

EH: Did you face any obstacles while shooting for Sri Raghupati?

RS: Not just one or two, but the entire road was filled with nothing but only obstacles. We made the film on a budget of two crores, but considering the effort that all of us were putting, we have to say that the film was worth six crores. Even finding a good location was quite difficult for us, which is why we had to work day-and-night on a single set. At times, we had to spend lacs of rupees to create a set for a one-minute scene. I believe that the challenges that we have faced during the shooting of this film are nothing as compared to the next film we will be shooting. This is because Sri Raghupati has set a bar, and people will be having lots of expectations from our next film. Through your portal, we would like to tell our audiences that we are ready to put effort if they are willing to watch our movies. Considering the response that we got from Sri Raghupati, I am quite grateful to the audience.

EH: You’ve been involved in acting from the age of 23. How did you get inspired to pursue a career in acting?

RS: Initially, I had no interest in acting. When our parents are involved in a particular profession, we usually look at the negative side of that profession. Since my mother was an actress, I had no interest in acting, because I only saw the negative sides of this profession. I was preparing to join the Armed Forces, but it was my father who managed to convince me to pursue acting instead.

EH: What are some of the challenges you faced as an actor?  

RS: Well, no matter how much we achieve, our minds are such that we always want to do better. This is why as I continued growing as an actor, our challenges kept on growing. Plus, as an actor, I need to be in top physical shape, if I want to sustain my value. I will need to exercise regularly, as well as pay attention to what and when I am eating. I will also need to be careful regarding how I speak and behave in public. The biggest challenge is however, that, we need to keep doing better. No matter how much of a success Sri Raghupati is today, the audience will have expectations from us, which is why we will continue to strive to do better.

EH: Do you think that the Assamese industry is on par with other regional industries of India?

RS: I think Assamese cinema is the most beautiful, because of the beauty of our culture. However, the problem is that we haven’t been able to reach the masses. People don’t know yet about our culture, and this is why we need to work on this. I believe that my duty, as an actor, is to make other people aware of my culture through the medium of cinema. Today, I believe that we have managed to reach success to a great extent. Sri Raghupati has managed to become a hit not just in Assam, but in other parts of India as well. I have been receiving feedback from other parts of India. If you look at movies that are released pan-India, they usually have a budget of over 100 crores. However, we made Sri Raghupati with just a budget of two crores. If we compare it to movies like RRR, which I believe, was made on a budget of 600 crores, the budget of our film is not even 1 percent of it. Thus, I believe that one of our achievements is that people from all over the country will definitely wonder how we managed all of this in such a low budget. Thus, it saddens me when I see people from Assam not appreciating our own cinema.  

EH: When you are making a film, or working on one, what do you think is the most important for you: Critical acclaim, awards or commercial success?  

RS: For me, the most important thing is the audience. If the audience is not happy with my content, I don’t care even if all the critics are showering me with praise. The next thing I pay attention to is the script. Then, I pay attention to my character. Then, I also consider who is directing the film. Their vision, experience and dedication is something that I definitely need to consider, because it is going to play a huge role in the impact that my character will have.

EH: Do you think that Assamese cinema will reach an international level?

RS: Some movies from Assam did reach an international level, and there were a few of them that even won awards. However, after the success of films like Sri Raghupati we are confident that our commercial movies will also reach an international level.

EH: With the rise of digital platforms and OTT, do you feel that movie theatres will be replaced?

RS: No, I feel that true movie lovers will always prefer to watch movies in the theatre. In addition, movies released on OTT platforms don’t command the respect that movies released on theatre do.

EH: With the rise of AI, do you think that there is a chance that actors, directors and scriptwriters might get replaced?

RS: Absolutely not. When it comes to scriptwriters, I don’t think they can ever be replaced. But yeah, actors can be replaced to an extent. They might create a replica of an actor, and use them for a movie, without him/her actually being present on set. However, at the end, the data that is being fed still comes from a human. It is important to remember that no matter how intelligent it gets, Artificial Intelligence is always Artificial i.e created by us.

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