She is best known for her power-packed performances in the West with movies like ‘Shadows of Time’ and much-acclaimed ‘Brick Lane’ and an interesting platter of Indian movies like ‘Road, Movie’, ‘Bombay Summer’ and ‘Dekh Indian Circus’, for which she recently bagged the coveted Best Actress Award at the New York Film Festival. Tannishtha Chatterjee, while in the city last week to mentor participants at the 10-day Green Screen Lab for Children’s Cinema, talked about her romance with new age cinema, passion for singing and desire to do meaningful work.
How was the experience of being a part of the prestigious Green Lab ?
The whole lab was a unique concept that Madab (Nila Madhab Panda, CEO Eleeanora Images Pvt Ltd) and Susan (Founder, Performing Arts Limited, London) have created together. They have managed a beautiful and free creative space for all of us – actors, writers and all others from the industry. Actors guiding writers during the Lab to help them develop their screenplays was a brilliant idea.
Was being a part of West a conscious decision?
Well, initially, it was yes. At that point, Bollywood was not as interesting as it is today thanks to new age directors like Madhab, Anurag Kashyap and the likes who are experimenting with issue-based movies. It was getting claustrophobic for me as an actor in Bollywood and that’s how I met some casting directors who were looking after international projects. Then, Shadows of Time happened and soon, I was working everywhere. Germany, Britain, America, Australia, France – the journey just went on.
What is the major difference you find working for Indian and International cinema?
Their’s is an organised industry. So, the work culture is a little different that way. But then things are changing fast here with the new breed of young directors and production houses.
Best actress for Bombay Summer and now a repeat with Dekh Indian Circus at New York Film Festival? How important are such awards?
I will be a liar if I say that awards don’t make you feel nice. Being recognised for your work that too at such a level does mean a lot. It also encourages you to do much more than what you have already done.
Shed some light on your passion for singing?
I have sung in several of my movies like Shadows of Time and Road,Movie. I even sang for Page 3. But singing is something that doesn’t come to me all the time. It is very close to me from a spiritual point of view. I don’t mind saying that singing is something that is just for myself.
How much of Tannishtha are we seeing in the near future?
Well, I am working in some great projects at the moment. There is Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina, which is a screen adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel by the same name, Aditya Bhattacharya’s BMW, Girish Mallik’s Jal on water crisis with Purab Kohili, Anant Mahadevan’s Gaur Hari Dastaan, which is based on Gaurahari Das, a freedom fighter from Odisha. Dekh Indian Circus is being released in India by Imtiaz Ali and then there is a Bollywood romantic comedy I Love New Year with Sunny Deol.