Tannishtha Chatterjee talks about shifting base to India,being stereotyped in indie films and playing Sunny Deols girlfriend
With each year,the Indian contingent at Cannes is only growing. And actor Tannishtha Chatterjee who is attending the festival this year to present Amit Kumars Monsoon Shootout where she plays a gangsters wife isnt a Cannes red carpet debutante. The actor first attended the festival in 2004 for Shadows of Time,a Bengali language German film that marked the beginning of her career. Then came Dev Benegals Road,Movie which was chosen for Cannes Cinefoundation LAtelier in 2009, she says.
A graduate from the National School of Drama,Delhi,Chatterjee started her career almost a decade ago. Since the roles that she was offered were mostly in foreign productions,such as Brick Lane and Bombay Summer,the actor decided to set up her base in both London and Mumbai,and lived out of a suitcase wherever each project took her. However,in 2011,she decided to move back to Mumbai. I realise that cinema anywhere in the world is the same; the way commercial films dominate the market and the independent films struggle for space, she says,That apart,it no longer matters where you are based. Irrfan,is a case in point. Chatterjee did Joe Wrights 2012 costume drama Anna Karenina after moving to India.
The 32-year-old is also excited about the direction Indian cinema is taking and is eager to be part of the space where the line between commercial and off-beat films is blurring. Impressed in particular with 2012s acclaimed film Vicky Donor,she says,It was a film that broke so many stereotypes the hero is a sperm donor,his mother drinks and so does the grandmother. It took the taboo away from the word sperm but it wasnt preaching anything.
While she hopes that interesting roles come her way in such space,Chatterjee says that commercial filmmakers alone dont stereotype her. It happens within the indie space too. Aditya Bhattacharya wanted me to play a jhola-toting journalist in his film BMW. I asked him,why would you not offer me the role of the gangsters moll,who is flirtatious,cunning and wields her own power? Thats when he realised it would be a good idea, she says.
Currently,the petite actor has a mix of Indian and international films lined up. While the acclaimed Dekh India Circus,Anant Mahadevans Gaur Hari Dastaan and Monsoon Shootout await release,she is finishing work on Madhuri Dixits comeback film Gulaab Gang and an Indo-French production,Sunrise. And then there is the most unlikeliest of all,I Love NY where I play Sunny Deols girlfriend. I took it up because it is a fun character of a career-driven woman and also because for once,the makers didnt see me as the stereotypical oh-so-serious actor.