Today Palomi Ghosh is a household name in Goa. She does not have any previous connections with Goa. She had just acted in one Goan movie and straight away landed into the heart of millions of people not alone in Goa but the world over. In fact, I would not have thought of writing about her in this column if she had not become the sweetheart of Goa. But according to me, she must have had that magic wand that made people fall under her spell? In fact, I am also one of those millions who just fell in love with her natural acting and performance that she gave in her first ever Goan biopic “Nachom-ia-Kumpassar”
There are perhaps hundreds of movies that have been made (all small and big) in Goa till date out that few recently managed to reach at the pinnacles of box office collection in Goa. But till date no movie had ever reached the heights that “Nachom-ia-Kumpasar” has attained and the simple reason behind the success of this movie is none other than the heartthrob of millions, Ms. Palomi Gosh. For Palomi also, this is the first full-length movie that too in the Konkani language. She perhaps never dreamt of doing ever. “I am from a theater background and I had a project in hand when Bardory offered me to work in Nachom-ia-Kumpasar. I was the part of a different league and Konkani was new to me, I told Bardroy that I need some time but I was sure that I am not going to do the Konkani movie. Then I was not exposed to Konkani films at all, I didn’t know anything about the Konkani cinema and haven’t seen any so the natural inclination was to go with what is more comfortable and I decided to go with my existing project,” narrated Palomi.
Palomi had almost rejected the offer of Bardroy to play the lead role in Nachom-ia-Kumpasar and decided to go to the theater. But somehow her destiny did not agree with her decision and finally she become a part of this project ‘Nachom-ia-Kumoasar’. “It was perhaps the most promising role when Bardroy offered it to me, but for me it was never the matter of being promising, it was the matter of a comfort. I was always comfortable with the theater and hence I opted had for it. But that could have been a huge mistake,” she took a pause before continuing further, “thanks to Sameer Sharma, a friend of mine who is also a director and was aware of this project. He convinced me that I have nothing to lose by taking up this project and I should do it. He then called Vijay (Maurya) and narrated him about my situation and Vijay also had similar opinion that I should do it and that’s how I finally boarded the Nachom-ia-Kumpasar ship,” she said with her naturally sweet signature smile on her face. Palomi finally decided to venture into the new territory that was almost alien to her but then she had, at least, two people whom she knew for some time, Bardory who gave her a break into the ad films and a friend ‘Vijay Maurya’ with whom she had worked earlier.
Palomi is a Bengali girl but she lived in Gujarat before moving to the US for the studies. “I am a Bengali but I never lived in Calcutta. I was in Gujrat before we moved to the US. Actually, I am from Maths background and after the studies I was supposed to join the corporate world but before doing that I thought of taking a break for one year and I came back to India. Although I was good at math but I always had an interest in Arts but I never thought that I would do my career into this,” she said. According to her, all these started just with the matter of a leisure pursuit. “When I was in the final year of college I took theater as one of the subjects and I really started liking it and then I decided to explore it by taking a break from math. I thought that I will have fun and explore the new avenues and after one year will go back to the US and peruse my career in the corporate sector and that is how I came back to India and ‘I stuck on’ I guess,” she said with the familiar smile.
When Palomi came to India she joined the Anupam Kher’s acting institute to learn acting “As I said earlier I was in India for one long year trip and I wanted to explore the possibilities and I thought of joining g the Anupam Kher institute for three months time which helped me a lot to brush up on my acting skills. As the time went by I realized that acting is my forte and as I am born and brought up in India I am very well attached to its culture. It’s very important to know one’s culture in order to perform on screen, to bring that element so I thought that would be a good start plus to begin with I didn’t knew it was for more than a year. So I was planning to go back after that. But things went on happening here,” she said.
Following the persuasion process from friends and colleagues she decided to take up the Konkani movie assignment but here she had the next challenge waiting for right in front of her and that was the issue of language. “Konkani was a little bit of challenge for me initially but I overcame it by putting little efforts. Since I speak and understand Hindi and Marathi and even Bengali, I think Konkani is not much different. The only issue I had was with the songs, I had to make sure that I lip-sync the songs well since it was meant to be done in one go. We did not shot the songs into bits and pieces as according to Bardroy the whole charm would have lost. We used to shoot the whole song in one go and 10 to 15 times to get the best results while editing,” she said.
According to Palomi, she started listening to the music of Lorna composed by Chriss Perry. “My first hook was the music, I was not known about Lorna and Chris Perry but after saying yes I started to listen to their compositions and that is what really got me in this role. I thought this is it. The music is so good “AAge Ka Will See”. She said. Palomi told me that portraying the character of a 16-year-old girl was not difficult as being an actor it is her job to be a different person in the role. “We had a graph of a character and my character starts up in 16-17 as a school girl who loves the music a lot. Portraying the 16-year-old girl was not difficult as according to me all the girls in that age group have similar emotions and vulnerability. I was drawn to the way back when I was a 16-year-old girl. But at the end, it was all about realizing what a 16-year-old Goan girl would be feeling in the situation like that and drawing your emotions out from there and that’s what I did and I am glad for it,” Palomi said with a smile. Palomi told me that she never met Lorna at all. “Though I would love to meet her, I have seen her from a distance that time we were shooting and she was there for some show. So I never got the opportunity to even talk and I was mesmerized even from a distance and I was itching to go and talk to her. I couldn’t do it at that time, but I hope maybe sometimes I will,” she said.
According to Palomi, it was the song that was difficult more than dialogues. “For me the dialogues were not an issue but the songs do. They were so petrifying, before shoot previous week I had to make sure that I know the songs at the back of my hand. We would not cut shot the song, would take it in one go. Right from beginning to the very end we would roll and we would roll for 25 times like and obviously it would go with different magnifications. And so I have to know the song by heart. Let’s take it, for example, if my lip moment doesn’t match then we had to cut and it’s a waste of time and it was a big responsibility to learn the songs completely, which I tried to do and because we shot it in one flow the songs come out in a certain way. Otherwise, if you keep chopping, in the sections, the flawless doesn’t come up wherever you wanted to. So that part took some efforts,” said Palomi.
Themovie Nachom-ia-Kumpasar is the mix of two aspects first is the journey of Goa’s two legendary musicians, Lorna and Chris and second is the story that is based on the rumors of their relationships, the ups, and downs they apparently faced in their life while working together in the Mumbai’s Jazz industry. Normally portraying something like this is more difficult than that of the fiction. According to Palomi, portraying the complete life of a person is not possible in three hours time and hence, the projecting it properly within that time is more important. “It’s very difficult for the 3-hour film to capture a lifetime, absolutely not possible. Off course, Chris Perry was a legend and gifted person so the Lorna is. One has to take it when an artist comes to a certain amount of eccentricity that is bound to show in their relationship. You meet any artist in your life it’s not possible that they will not have turmoil in their life. It’s you have chosen to put yourself out there and that can’t be easy. You are completely exposing yourself, artists exposing in a most feeling and it’s a hard thing to do because you know you let people in your life and you bound to get hurt. As we know art is not about practicality and I can image they had that life. As an audience we should be objective that looking at them we should be like give both these characters a benefit of the doubt because we don’t know the whole story, we don’t know the either side of it,” she said.
Palomi also describes to me about her experience while shooting in Goa. According to her, the shoot was neither work nor a vacation in Goa but it was like living back in the 70’s and it was the most alluring experience of her life. “It was the memorable experience of my life. It was neither work nor a vacation. It was like living a certain person’s life in the 70s. That’s what is so cool about being an actor. You can time trap it. To me, I was in practically living the 70s and I was really excited. Even Aparna Raina who did such a fabulous job with a production designing that actually made me feel that I am in the 70s. I was absolutely enjoying it and that too Goa in the 70s,” she narrated her experience on the set.
When I asked Palomi about her future plans she told me that, there are proposals but then she need to be careful in her selection because of her role in Nachom-ia-Kumpasar has elevated the standards and after the selection of this movie into Oscars with special mention for her work in that movie yet brings more responsibility to her while selecting any role in future. “I am open to the projects. It doesn’t matter where they are. Yes, I am based out of Mumbai and would like to do what’s there. It would be great to do international work. So, yea I am absolutely open to good films where ever they might come from. I am doing a Hindi film in the month of March, It’s an independent project. I am not allowed to talk about it. There is something going on. I am also continuing my theater,” she said.
According to me, Palomi as a person and actor has a very bright future waiting in front of her and it will obviously depend on her actions and decisions as what she will take up and what she would reject will lead to making her career in the Bollywood industry. Palomi has a huge potential in the field of acting as well singing (she is also a talented singer) and I wish her all the success in her future. I also expect that she should come back to Goa sometimes and contribute little towards this upcoming film industry of Goa AKA Gollywood.