Tannishtha Chatterjee is one the Bollywood actresses who is known for doing some unconventional cinema. Her films have been critically acclaimed around the globe. Many of her films have travelled to and have received recognition in several film festivals. One such film, Monsoon Shootout which also stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vijay Varma, was appreciated in the Cannes 2013. Despite its screening in 2013, Monsoon Shootout could not release on the big screen. Finally, after 4 years of waiting, it will see the light of the day on December 15, 2017.
Recently, Koimoi.com caught up with Tannishtha, where she spoke about her role in Monsoon Shootout, director Amit Kumar, Zaira Wasim’s recent molestation case, Padmavati release delay and much more.
Excerpts from the interview:
1. Tell us something about your role in Monsoon Shootout.
Actually, the film is between Nawaz’s character and Vijay’s character, a cop and a gangster. I play gangster’s wife, Nawaz’s wife in the film. So, I have a very small role, I come in that part of the film where his family life is shown and also in that part where he is shot and what happens to his family then. Though it is a small role but it is a very pivotal role, it has a specific function which is designed in a very specific way. It is not a showpiece role. Which is why I chose to do this film, I liked the script a lot. Amit is also a very good friend, even though it was not a female-centric film like the films that I do, it is just that I wanted to be associated with the film which I really like.
2. Monsoon Shootout is a dark and gritty film. So was it taxing for you to portray this character?
It was! We were shooting in the horrible locations and throughout you are drenched in the rains. Even in the night shots, we were all drenched in the rains. We have shot in horribly dirty places (laughs). So, it was a tough shoot. Before this film, I came from London as I was shooting for a film called Anna Karenina which is now a big Hollywood film, so the contrast of shooting that and this was totally different (laughs). When I landed in Mumbai, I started shooting for Monsoon Shootout from the very next day.
3. Tannishtha, you are an actress who is known for doing some unconventional cinema. And you have done a variety of movies – in different languages. How is the experience so far?
I think it is been very enriching. It is because I get to travel so many different parts of the world and work with so many different artists’ from across the globe. The whole differences like to shoot a film like Parched in a village and then to shoot a film like Lion which is a big Hollywood film again. So, I think I really enjoy these experiences. Last week, I was in Australia in Brisbane and it is so beautiful with a clean environment and great food, and the day after tomorrow, I will be travelling to Kashmir. So in one weeks’ time, I am in a different part of the continent with some culturally different people. I think it levels you, it teaches you so many things.
4. While taking up any film, what all are the factors that you keep in mind?
I think the first thing is, of course, the role and if it is exciting me. But sometimes, like for example, I did Monsoon Shootout, actually, it was the script what excited me more than the role. And also Amit is a good friend of mine, sometimes I choose films because they are being made by people with whom I have worked before and I like working with. I have done a number of films with Nawaz. So, there are different criteria’s.
5. You are quite vocal about your views and opinions. What do you have to say about the recent molestation case of Zaira Wasim, she was molested by a co-passenger in a flight?
I think it is pathetic. We should be ashamed of ourselves as a country. Whether it is a 17-year-old celebrity travelling in a business class or a 5-year-old kid, like on the same day, Zaira was molested and a 5-year-old kid was raped in a village in UP and sticks were inserted into her vagina… I mean what kind of behaviour is this? I mean we are not sparing kids in schools, every second now we hear a case of rape or molestation in schools. What’s happening? I think it is disgusting, we should be ashamed as a society. Do we need to really understand that why is this happening? I mean there is no development, no progress in our society that we cannot protect women and children.
6. We have seen that your films like Angry Indian goddesses or Parched have always faced some or other controversies. Even a film like Padmavati is facing difficulties for a release. What do you think is the reason behind this?
I think it is very shameful that some few fringe groups can actually stall a release. I was dying to watch the film. Every historian or people who have come to any news channel, even some of my historian friends, they all say that or actually doubt that Padmavati was ever a historical character. It is a fictitious character which came out in a poem and the film is based on that. You are going to create a problem on that whether she danced or not, this is a real issue! I mean this is totally politicized. I do think that how can a handful of people can hold the entire nation to ransom and can openly say that they will behead so and so person. No action is being taken! I am also sorry to say this but most people in our industry like Shabana ji and Javed Saab, they spoke against it and few others too. But we are not strong enough, I think we should have taken to the streets. A film like Sexy Durga, even after the high court said that it has to be screened, people denied from screening it! We as a film fraternity should have boycotted IFFI. But we are not together, we don’t these things.
7. What do you think is the reason that people don’t come forward for such issues?
I think people are scared and that is horrible. I mean how artists can be scared, they have to be fearless. We have to come together and we have to take a stance. We should have taken a very strong stance, how can someone stall a film’s release without watching the film. I think that we are not strong enough to voice our opinion.
8. Monsoon Shootout is finally releasing in India after 4 years. What are your thoughts on the same?
I think I am looking forward to the Indian release and the trailer has already got a good response. Hopefully, people will enjoy the film. It is a very fresh psychological thriller and with some great performances and a good script. One of the rare films that I was actually premiered in the official selection in Cannes. So it is a very prestigious film. So yes, I am glad that it is finally releasing in India.
9. What’s next on the platter?
I have one release coming up called Doctor Rakhmabai that is the life of the first practising lady doctor of India. I am also doing a film with Onir and then there is another Bengali film also which is happening. There are 2 international projects, so there is lots of stuff!