I made no effort to win it: Riddhi Sen on winning the National Award
The biggest surprise that the 65th National Awards has thrown forward is to honour the 19-year-old Bengali actor Riddhi Sen for his performance as a transgender in Kaushik Ganguly’s Nagarkirtan.
No stranger to awards and recognition even at this young age, Riddhi seems overjoyed at being the youngest actor to win the National Award in the Best Actor category.
“I don’t know if I am really the youngest. But I must be the happiest. I made no effort to win it. The honour has come to me on its own and I, therefore, feel happy about it. I was shooting for a film when I was informed that I had won a National Award. So, I celebrated in the best way possible — by working. My mother always taught me that work hard is the only means to achieving one’s ambitions. Acting is all I’ve known from my childhood,” he says.
Born into a family of theatre and film actors, Riddhi started his career as a film actor when he was 11. At age 15, Riddhi had been honoured with the Bengal government’s prestigious award, the Mahanayak Samman, for his performance in the film Open Tee Bioscope (2015). However, Riddhi rejected the honour on political grounds. Isn’t he too young to be mixing his art with politics?
“I don’t agree. Politics can never be separated from art in our country, no matter what an actor’s age. Yes, I had said no to that honour. Firstly, I didn’t think I was worthy at that young age of an award named after the great (actor) Uttam Kumar. Secondly, there was a lot in West Bengal’s politics that I didn’t like,” he says.
Speaking about landing the National Award-winning part in Nagarkirtan, Riddhi says, “Not for a moment did I consider rejecting the part just because it was unconventional. What’s the point of being an actor if you don’t dive into personalities unknown to you?”
“I never thought of the impact that the character would make or that I’d win a National award for it. One doesn’t do a role after assessing its influence. One does it because it’s there waiting to be brought alive,” adds the actor.