N-E actor finds Bengal niche

Calcutta, Jan. 10: Everyone who dreams of glamour, dreams Mumbai. But Rrishii Kaushik had a different destination ' he halted a bit too long at a gateway, Calcutta, and became a television star here.

But it was not an easy journey for Rrishii, aka Archi of the popular Bengali serial Ishti Kutum, till he made his way into the hearts of audience. The show is on everyday.

Born Kamakhya Kaushik in an Assamese family at Tezpur, he started as a model in Guwahati and then moved to Calcutta in 2002.

"I hoped to become a successful model like John Abraham," Rrishii said.

But fate had other ideas. After shifting to Calcutta, in his initial days, he was without work for almost three years.

His first break came when Bengali director Riingo, with whom Rrishii had done an ad film, offered him a role in his Puja-special telefilm opposite Indrani Halder, who was already a star.

The language was not a problem. "I can speak and read Bengali," he said. But it was the accent that made things difficult. Rrishii's co-actors and director helped him in this front. "As I learnt and delivered my dialogues, they would ensure that I mastered the correct pronunciation," he added in fluent Bengali.

After the telefilm, he bagged the lead role in a 2005-mega serial, Ekdin Protidin. Both Rrishii and Aparajita Ghosh Das, his leading lady, were new faces in this serial.

But it was Ekhane Akash Neel, a Bengali serial in 2008, that shot him to stardom. He played a doctor, Ujaan Chatterjee, which made him a heartthrob among the old and young. "Everybody took notice of Dr Chatterjee," he said.

People in Tezpur, where his parents still live, started recognising him. "When I visited my parents, the people there, particularly the Bengali community, noticed me. They appreciated that someone from their town had made it big on television. I got more attention even when I was meeting my college friends," he said. Rrishii graduated from Darrang College. Riding on the success of Ekhane Akash Neel, he landed the role of Archi in Ishti Kutum, which has become equally popular. "Dr Ujaan gave me fame while Archi is a process to learn more, to grow," he said.

Rrishii had done an Assamese film, Rong, in 2003. Zubeen Garg had introduced him to filmmaker Munin Baruah, who offered him the lead role. "That was my first film," he said. Though the film did not do well, Rrishii learnt to face the camera and enjoyed it more than modelling. "With Rong I could add a film to my resume and the profession suited me. I was comfortable in front of the camera," he said.

Now he hopes to attain the same in films ' Bengali or Assamese. "The big screen is always a dream of any actor and I am no exception," he said. "But I am waiting for that one role or film that I would love to do, one that will catapult me into stardom. It has to be worth the wait."

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