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Game for challenging roles

NEW AVATAR Tisca Chopra  

Juggling with different mediums, actor Tisca Chopra is always ready for new challenges. After receiving international acclaim for her play, “Dinner With Friends” and thought provoking film, “Qissa”, she will now be seen in a UK-India co-production called “The Hungry”. On her recent visit to the Capital for screening of her short film, “Chutney”, she talked about being a producer and changing face of female characters.

Excerpts:

On producing the short film, “Chutney”

This was based on Bhisham Sahni's short story which I performed as a monologue at the Prithvi Theatres many years ago when I started out as an actor. I was not even allowed there so I used to perform it at the stairs. The story changed and evolved in my head and did not leave me because I felt there is a commentary in it. We knew that it will work in digital platform better as individual viewing is something which is needed for shorter films, so we released directly there.

On adapting stories from India literature like she did with Sahni’s “Saag Meat”

We have more than enough literature in the country including great epics which contain thousands of stories which can be adapted in so many ways. Also, new age stories written by authors like Ismat Chugtai and Mohan Rakesh, who have portrayed the reality through their fearless pen, can be a source for many films.

On changing representation of women on screen, especially that of mother

When I play a character, I do not see her one-dimensionally. For me she is a person with different roles such as daughter, sister, wife and I do not think I have to react in a particular way, just because I am playing a particular character, say the mother, who has so many roles at the same time. A regular woman like that in “Chutney” is different as in today's age when everything is extra shining, average looking people have to struggle a lot and that gave me the inspiration to give voice to those unrepresented women who are somewhere absent in the larger picture. From “Mother India” to “Deewar”, mothers have always been a huge influence in Hindi cinema and were shown as helpless and sobbing. As women are changing and becoming more independent in outlook and mothers are taking charge, it is being reflected in cinema such as “Taare Zameen Par”.

On the rise of women workforce in the industry

I am a very gender agnostic person who only sees that the job has to be done, whoever does it but if more women come into writing and producing, we will have more representation and the story will be more balanced. I remember one shoot in the West where a women director was shooting a girl sitting and after taking a shot from above the table, she also took it from beneath to show a tear in her stockings (laughs).

On “The Hungry”, her next film

It is a shocking and surprising film with strong actors including Naseeruddin Shah. A revenge drama, it is a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare's play, “Titus Andronicus”, with its theme of corruption, revenge and greed. Directed by Bornila Chatterjee, I am playing Tulsi, a character which is challenging and different.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 9:01:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/game-for-challenging-roles/article19318803.ece

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