Raima Sen has been around for a long time now. She began her journey when she was 18 and she is currently a sensation, thanks to the digital platform and new cult of web-series audience. She comes from a family of great actors- her grandmother Suchitra Sen was a Bengali screen legend. Her mother Moon Moon Sen, now active in Bengal Politics, was an actor too.
Raima is more than just a pretty face. She is intelligent and inquisitive. She has the desire to know more, to learn and to grow. She is a performer and she keeps serving her audience with the best performances. Raima believes in challenging herself as an actor. She effortlessly applies an artistic eye to her life. Her ambition and tenacity, her love for cinema is to look for.
Here in her interview with The Lifestyle Journalist magazine, Raima Sen talks about her mother, grandmother, the bond she shares with her family, her childhood, her love for acting, movies and Bengal.
Describe ‘Raima Sen’ in real life?
Raima Sen in real life is completely different to her on-screen image. She is adventurous, crazy and you can call her a bit of a hippie!
Are you happy and content with your life, personal and professional, at the moment?
Yes, very happy and content. This year you will see me in more meaningful films.
Any sweet memory that you fondly remember from your childhood days? How was your bonding with your grandmother?
Growing up was a real fun. I used to be a naughty kid. We were very close to grandma. She loved to feed us and take us shopping and pampered us.
How did ‘Godmother’, your first movie happen?
It was a simple process. Vinay Shukla contacted me for the movie, we met and he just finalised me for his film!
You have played a wide range of characters over the years. Which is your favorite among all?
All roles are really close to my heart. But Chokher Bali was a turning point. So it will remain a favourite.
You have worked in both Bollywood and Bengali film industry. What is the difference you see in working with these two?
All industries are the same. I have done Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam films too. Except the language I don’t see any difference between them all. And in Kolkata, I get pampered a lot than other places. They have seen me as a baby. We used to go to meet my mother a lot during her shoots and all thanks to my grandma, I get more love!
You inspire multitudes. Who is your role model?
My mom, grandmom and my dadisa, Maharani Gayatri Devi are my role models and ofcourse my dad is one of them.
What is more important for you, critical acclaim or box office numbers?
Both are important but we can’t tell about box office all the time. So critical acclaim I guess.
What made you fall in love with acting at the first place?
We saw my mother in films when we were growing up. We used to visit her on sets and ask grandma about her experiences. I think it was already embedded in our subconscious. We were awestruck as kids by the glamour of it. Being star kids, thanks to mom and grandma, so it was a natural decision to join films.
What were your alternate career choices?
I wanted to be an air hostess but my dad is petrified of flights. So that was a big no no!
What does it take to be an actor?
I am a spontaneous actor, a director’s actor. I learn with experience. I think either you have it in you or don’t. Or you learn it eventually. I did not have the time to learn it as I did my first film when I was just 18.
What is your fitness mantra?
I keep trying different workout routines. Swimming, martial arts or cardio weight training. It depends on my mood. I eat everything because I am a foodie. The main idea is to be active. Sleep-well and drink lots of water and of course avoid stress.
Who is your favorite fashion designer?
I have many favorites. Sabyasachi, Anamika Khanna, Shantanu & Nikhil, Jean Paul Gaultier, Ritu Kumar, DVF, Halston, Jimmy Choo for shoes.
Your favorite makeup artist?
I work in different industries so I have worked with many makeup artists. I can’t name one. They are all good in their own way.
What are your favorite things to splurge on?
Clothes, shoes, food, shawls and bags.
What makes you feel alive?
Music, good conversation and my work.
How has your professional journey been so far?
It’s not been easy but it has been a great learning experience. All I can say is I couldn’t have chosen a better profession. It’s been rewarding and fun journey too.
Your role in Chokher Bali changed the course of your entire career. How did things favour you after that?
I got a lot of offers after Chokher Bali. It was tough to choose but I believe that I chose the best of what I got. The expectations were a lot after that and I hope I didn’t disappoint my fans.
Tell us something about your role in your upcoming movie ‘Sitara’.
I play a simple girl who crosses the border and is forced into prostitution. It’s a true story based on a novel.
The character ‘Sitara’ is already been compared to Kareena’s character in ‘Chameli’. What do you have to say about this?
It’s different to Chameli because Sitara gets involved in politics after and have a tragic ending.
Do you believe Bollywood has no space for outsiders?
I think there’s enough place for everyone in Bollywood. If you are good, you have a place everywhere.
What has been the most memorable experience so far?
Honeymoon travels. While shooting for the movie we had a lot of fun. There were so many actors and I actually felt sad when the film got over.
Your film Hrid Majharey is a critically acclaimed film. It also included in the prestigious UGC literature Archive. Tell us something about the movie and your experience working in it.
I loved the script, the songs and everything about the movie. We shot in Andaman and Calcutta. The cameraman was Shirsho who was a dear friend and fun co actor too. So we had a lot fun.
What actor would you happily do a love scene with?
What is your take on success and failure?
It is a part of life. Life can’t be smooth. It has to have its ups and downs, else it would get monotonous. It’s how you take it in your stride. As you get more experienced you learn to deal with failure better. So it is important.
How do you process criticism and negativity?
Now I overlook it. I learn from my mistakes and move on. There is no point crying over spilt milk.
What do you do in your spare time?
I read a lot. I watch Netflix, Amazon, Hoichoi and Zee 5. I also go for plays and to the movie halls.
What is your take on favouritism in Bollywood industry?
It is survival of the fittest in the Bollywood industry. I think anybody who has made it till here, has a full reason to be here. I don’t believe in favouritism. If you’re good you will definitely be on top.
Can you imagine your life without films?
Now I can’t. I feel I need to work. It gives me a kick and keeps me occupied and for me acting is de-stressing. I feel stressed if I’m not doing anything or I am just sitting at home free.
How has your personal and professional life evolved after stepping in the film industry?
Nothing has changed. It just keeps getting better.
Does films always hold a special place in your heart?
Always! Since I was a kid.
Was there any one film that made an impact on you?
Arth Masoom Andhi and nearly all my gramdmas films. Life is beautiful, La La Land, When a man loves a woman, Love Story, Raging Bull and the list continues.. I am a big fan of Meryl Streep and Woody Allen films too.
Do you read much online?
I prefer to read books
How do you deal with setbacks?
Now I just learn from it and move on.
Walk us through your beauty routine
I just try staying fit, drinking a lot of water and getting 8 hours of sleep. I go for my spas and massages too.
Who do you look upto when it comes to style?
I like Deepika’s style.
How would you describe your style?
I wear what I’m comfortable in. Carry my own style with confidence. I don’t always follow trends. I am not a fashion horse. I like it simple. I like being me and different.
Define a relationship
Companionship, friendship, understanding and accepting each other with all flaws. Help each other grow. Be an anchor to one another and be there for each other.
As a girlfriend you are
Well I can’t answer that…I don’t know.. but I am very possessive.
What draws you to a man?
His loyalty… one woman man.. His sense of humour and brains.
A turn off
Show-offs… clingy people
Your idea of romance
Good dinner, music and wine
Marriage or live in
Favorite holiday destination
London or New York
Autobiography of Marlon Brando and Autobiography of a Yogi
Your comfort food
The most adventurous thing you did last year
Skydiving in Chicago…
A fashion item you would never wear
Stilettos. I always fall.
Your pamper fix
Quick step out ritual
Kajal, lip gloss and shades…
What is your signature look
Lose Hair, jeans, a shirt and flats
Go to red carpet look
What makes you feel alive?
Your biggest splurge
My Rolex watch and My Diamond Ring.
One superpower you wish to have
I wish I could fly.. And also turn invisible when I want
One celebrity you would like to go on a date with
A millennial you would like to swap life with for a day?
What’s on your Netflix queue?
Rai5, Jesus 66, corny pick-up lines, Crown 2, You, Designated Survivor, and in Amazon Prime- Mirzapur.
Most genuine person in Bollywood?
An overused hashtag you’d never use?
What is your spirit animal?
Scorpio because I am one… I love dogs.
A song title to describe your last relationship?
Romeo and Juliet and Halka halka suroor hai..
Favourite online store?
I don’t shop online.
A trait that annoys you the most?
I hate it when people lie.
Tell us about your future projects?
Tarikh, a Bengali film by Churni Ganguly. Anjan Dutt finally bhalobasha… a short film by Mahesh Manjrekar and another short film by Aniruddha (director of Pink).
A new web-series which I can’t talk about… And a Hindi film with Vinay Pathak.