"I'm sitting with my grandmother telling her proudly about Nauka Dubi," Riya said on the phone from Kolkata. "My entire career I've been known as this sexy chick and offered roles accordingly. I've been dying to do a Bengali film. When Rituda who's currently my bestest friend in the world, offered me Nauka Dubi I decided to put my entire soul into it. I hope it pays off." The role is that of an ordinary Bengali housewife.
"Not like my sister Raima in Chokher Bali and Parineeta where she was all dressed in finery. I wear no jewellery no makeup and ordinary cotton sarees in the traditional style." Ritu not only had to teach her how to tie the saree in the routine middleclass way, but also several household chores like cutting vegetables, pouring them intothe vessel, squatting on floor, sweeping and cleaning.
Says Riya, "Contrary to my image I love cooking. Raima had learnt all of that for Aparna Sen's The Japanese Wife. And in any case she has that kind of a wholesome image. But what would audiences think when they see me do all this? They'll be so thrilled…And to hear me speak in Bengali. Wow! It's music even to my ears."
Initially Ritu had warned Riya her voice would be dubbed. "He thought I wouldn't be able to carry off the middleclass Bengali diction. But when he heard me speak he said he'd retain my voice. That's really cool." Cool, because every Mumbai actress from Kirron Kher to Aishwarya Bachchan to Manisha Koirala who has worked for Ritu has had her voice dubbed.
"Raima shared a very special bonding with Ritu-da. Now I share it too." Will we get to see the two sisters together in Nauka Dubi? Sighs Riya, “Unfortunately…no. This is our first film together and Ramie and I don"t have a single shot together. When audiences see it they"ll know why." Interestingly Raima and Riya have a healthy rivalry on the sets to get their director"s attention.
Laughs Rituparno Ghosh, "They're both such lovely girls. Riya unnecessarily has a wild image. She's as capable of playing a Bengali housewife as Raima. I adopted Raima long ago. She's my daughter. No one can take her place. But Riya is my niece now. Both the sisters shower me with attention on the sets. I feel blessed."
Riya Sen finally has a film she can tell her illustrious grandmother the legendary Suchitra Sen about. In Kolkata for the last 3 weeks Riya has been shooting for Rituparno Ghosh adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore"s Nauka Dubi. It"s been a career-changing experience for the saucy Sen