– interviewed by Mohammed Yaser Khan
Mayukh Ray is a versatile actor and well grounded producer in the media and film industry. He moved to Mumbai in 2013 with a film degree from the MET Film School in London. After an acting diploma at The Jeff Goldberg Studio in Mumbai where he trained in method acting, he began auditioning for different roles and bagged several parts in films and commercials. His first production stint was with Akarsh Media Works. Soon after, he founded his own production house called Little Duck Productions and has continued to thrive in the industry since. Mayukh has recently won Best Actor award at The Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival 2017 for his acclaimed short film Mohammad and Urvashi. The film has also won him Best Actor at other renowned film festivals in Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai.
Cinespeaks interviewed this promising actor and here’s what he had to say about Vivek Agnihotri’s directorial Short Film ‘Mohammed And Urvashi’ and more:
Q. Tell us something about your journey from being an acting aspirant to an established actor today.
Mayukh Ray: I wouldn’t say I am an established actor yet. There is still a long way to go. However, I am enjoying the ride and taking each day as it comes.
Q. What attracted you most about your role ‘Mohammed’?
Mayukh Ray: I don’t think anyone would have naturally cast me for the role of Mohammad. I wouldn’t have even been called to audition. So, to be able to portray a character that no one would imagine me in, was exciting and challenging.
Q. How is acting different from being a producer? What is more difficult?
Mayukh Ray: They are both completely different jobs. I guess the difficulty depends on the kind of team you have. If you have a great team like I did for Mohammad and Urvashi, both jobs become easier. Otherwise, it can get really tough.
Q. How did you bag ‘Mohammed & Urvashi’?
Mayukh Ray: Actually, Vivek convinced me to play Mohammad. He truly believed that I could be the character and I am extremely grateful for that.
Q. How was it working with Vivek Agnihotri?
Mayukh Ray: It was fantastic working with Vivek. He was clear of his vision from day one and he executed it perfectly. Also, initially I was hesitant about the character but he instilled belief in me that I can be Mohammad and then showed the patience required, to work with fairly a newcomer was amazing.
Q. Given the current political scenario and the strong subject of the short film, did you anticipate any backlash from the more orthodox communities?
Mayukh Ray: Not at all. There is nothing in the film that is intended to offend anyone. It’s a story of greed, sin, lust and karma.
Q. Does it add pressure on the number of views you receive for the short film after having won a lot of recognition at film festivals?
Mayukh Ray: Not really. Having got the recognition and appreciation at festivals all over the world, was more than what I ever expected. I wasn’t too concerned about the popularity or the number of views. I just hoped people would watch the film and have an opinion on the film.
Q. Do you think digital content is going to be the future of the entertainment industry?
Mayukh Ray: Yes and no. Yes, because the digital space offers a lot more flexibility in terms of creativity and censorship, so there is definitely a future there. However, the experience of watching a film in theatres is still incomparable.
Q. After having worked with notable directors, do you think there’s still a journey full of hurdles that one has to travel before attaining success?
Mayukh Ray: In every profession, as in fact in every phase of life there are going to be hurdles along the way. That’s just how life works! Even when success is attained, it’s a hurdle to sustain that level of success. You just have to keep going and continue working hard without thinking of success. Now that in itself is the biggest hurdle.
Q. What’s your message to those aspirants who come to Mumbai with a dream of making it big in Bollywood?
Mayukh Ray: Keep believing in yourself and work on developing another skill. Always be willing to learn and relearn.
Q. What’s your secret to positivity?
Mayukh Ray: Happiness.