‘As an actor, you wish the drum roll to continue’

The styling for my character was done by Rohit Chaturvedi and Koko (director Konkona Sen Sharma). Tillotama Shome in a still from A Death in the Gunj. How did you go about essaying the character of an elite woman in the ’70s in A Death in the Gunj? I had done only three days of work for the film and that was not enough to give a sense of how it was made. That gave me such a high. Playing a mother was more challenging as I lack any maternal instinct. After touring with What is Done, is Done, I did a film Patenge, and Kadvi Hawa. Sometimes as an actor you wish the drum roll to continue. The understanding of being a Bengali in the ’70s came from looking at my parents, who were both students of Presidency College, Kolkata. Within that, one has to navigate with a lot of tenacity to keep pushing oneself without having much reservation. It required us to have tremendous focus, day in and day out, for a 14-hour shoot that lasted about a month. I told Koko, only midway through the shoot, that I am modelling my character on her and her mother. Rajat said that as actors we have to keep working on ourselves. What are you working on now? 2017-05-29T00:57:25+00:00″>
Published:May 29, 2017 12:57 am

Tillotama Shome. I realised that I wanted to act and since most movies in India are made in Hindi, I joined the most hardcore Hindi theatre group in Mandi House. I had no inkling that I would move to Mumbai or become fluent in Hindi. And I said what’s the point of being good if one was not noticed. How did you get rid of this cynicism? The scenes in the film are about class snobbery and language being such a signifier. As a result, from January 2016 to April 2017, I worked continuously. I stuck with them for a year, working on my Hindi. Having overcome my stammer, I like the intimacy of the camera. I believe Qissa changed that by becoming a talking point. I can’t sit in my living room and talk about what I have done in the past. If it takes a decade to change people’s perception about me, I don’t think I will live that long. If it was any consolation, I started getting paid better after Qissa. It is a very different exercise being an actor who works everyday. My observation of how Koko deals with Haroon (Sen Sharma’s son) when he would demand her attention at social occasions, helped me. Our industry is pockmarked with stereotyping. I needed to get off that high horse. The appreciation for Qissa was very muted. It mattered to me when people took time out to say that they liked the film. However, after I said yes to a lot of projects last year, people have also come to realise that I can play different roles. Was it disappointing that Anup Singh’s Qissa, in which you play a girl raised as a boy, perhaps wasn’t appreciated enough in India? One assumes, if you put that kind of effort, there would be rewards. That apart, I also feel very vulnerable and naked on stage. While studying in Delhi, I had joined a theatre company, Asmita, much before I did Monsoon Wedding. Soon after, I decided to say yes to certain projects without questioning if they were ticking all the boxes. Acting in Rohena Gera’s movie, Sir, with Vivek Gomber, made me feel like I’m back in an acting workshop. Sometime in November 2015, actor-director Rajat Kapoor and some friends had come over to my place. Ironically, I was not very good in Hindi and was very keen to learn the language. The film is shot with two actors, Vivek and I, in a room. For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App now However, it was very unhealthy for me to be negative and cynical for long. Rajat asked me to join the cast of his clown version of Macbeth, What is Done, is Done. (Photo: Jaydeep Sarkar)
Tillotama Shome on playing a snob in Hindi Medium, a preoccupied mother in the upcoming film A Death in the Gunj, getting off her high horse and being busy with acting. The other reference for my character was her mother Aparna Sen, who has this iconic charm of the ’70s and speaks with a drawl. In the recently released Hindi Medium, you have a small but significant role. But I knew the conversation about the education system that the movie was trying to initiate was relevant. Clowning is not my strength. It was an incredible experience. Many still remember you as Alice of Monsoon Wedding. It was disappointing that the movie did not do well in India. Preparing for the film required long workshops. I anchored a show for Epic channel, Dristhi-Documentaries, in Hindi. Does that bother you?