BANGALORE: In a rather unfortunate cinematic phase in the nineties, Tisca Chopra was first seen as Ajay Devgan's arm candy in Platform. That she was miscast became clear when she appeared in Taare Zameen Par in a nuanced role. She has always been unique. To start with, she is named after a Czech river. There is also a sense of calm she has, emanating from her love for Buddhism.
Having trained with theatre stalwarts Naseeruddin Shah and Feroz Abbas Khan, her journey continues with theatre and films. She also featured memorably in the Indian version of the hit American series 24. Now, Tisca has donned another hat, that of a writer. “I was surrounded by writers. My father and my husband are both writers. It is a world I am familiar with,” she exults.
Her book, Acting Smart is a newbies' guide to making it big in Bollywood. “Bollywood has its fair share of stories. Some that you read and some that go unheard. I wanted to give an insider view into this quaint world,” she says and adds, “The book is for everyone keeping a close eye on the Hindi film industry. It addresses two types of readers: the film buffs who want to know more about an actor’s life and the people who want to foray into this space.” She interviewed many stalwarts in the industry.
She says,“The book is filled with anecdotes about people, the mistakes they made and learnt from. It also has a compilation of my learnings.” She is quick to point out that the book is in no way controversial. “The book has stories about Boman Irani, Shabana Azmi, Imtiaz Ali, Anurag Kashyap and they were happy to contribute to the book. I also spoke to the late Yash Chopra who had a wealth of advice. I remember visiting Yashji in his office a few years ago and interviewing him like a journalist with a dictaphone in hand,” she reminisces.
Tisca started researching the book four years ago. “I remember telling my literary agent that I was going to finish the book in three months. She laughed so hard that the phone receiver fell off her hand,” she chuckles. “I never stopped writing. Even when I was on the sets, I sat down with my pen and paper to write. At every shoot, I got fresh insights.”
So, are we going to see a second book from her? “An idea for a book has to come to you. You shouldn't have to go and grab it,” she reveals. She is looking forward to producing a movie adaptation of a book by her husband, Sanjay Chopra.