Mumbai, April 17 (IANS) From sharing screen space with Vidya Balan in his Bollywood debut to winning the Best Actor at the 65th National Film Awards, Riddhi Sen, all of 19, is navigating his way into the world of cinema in a promising manner. Coming from a family of celebrated theatre actors of Bengal, he is confident he won't take any token of appreciation "for granted".
The actor, who is busy shooting for Pradeep Sarkar's upcoming film "Eela" here, was quite surprised to learn about winning the National Award for Bengali film "Nagarkirtan".
"My mother called me. I was really surprised because in such a short time... a National Award? But the best part is my mother was always confident about me. And trust me, I will not take this award for granted," Riddhi told IANS in an interview.
"My mother Reshmi Sen, who is also an actress in Bengal, has always encouraged me to focus on my acting. According to her, this is my true calling. She made sure that my formal education did not get affected due to my acting career. She is my strength," added the teenager.
Riddhi's "Nagarkirtan", directed by Kaushik Ganguly, bagged three more awards -- Best Costume Designer, Best Make-Up and a Special Jury Award.
Riddhi, born and brought up in Kolkata, inherited his acting talent from his family. His grandparents Chitra Sen and late Shyamal Sen are celebrated actors who worked with icons like Ritwik Ghatak, Utpal Dutt and Rituparno Ghosh.
Riddhi's father Kaushik Sen too is a celebrated theatre and film actor.
"Looking at my family history, before you ask me the first question on nepotism, I have something to say. Well, I am surely lucky to be born in a family of talented people, growing up among filmmakers who are our family friends... But my parents referred my name to any directors. They wanted me to earn work experience independently," Riddhi cleared the air.
Considering that the actor has worked in a few Hindi films like "Kahaani", "Parched" and "Bhoomi", his point seems valid.
"Though my family is well-known in the Bengali film industry, nobody knows them here in Bollywood! So, you see," Riddhi added.
On how his family keeps him grounded, the young actor said: "After 'Kahaani', which was my first Bollywood film (he was 13), director Sujoy Ghosh called my father to talk about my remuneration. My father asked him not to pay me anything because, according to him, it was a good opportunity and I should enjoy the experience.
"I know these awards, appreciation, limelight... Nothing will change my focus from acting. My parents are there to keep me grounded."
In "Eela", he will be seen playing son to actress Kajol.
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at email@example.com)