The actor in her came out each time she would play pretend games as a child. “But I was terrifyingly shy for most of my life. In order to get over it,I decided to pursue theatre,” says actress Maya Tideman. At 16,she left Pune to study at the International School of Bangalore. She acted in plays and the stage continued to hold her attention. As Fate would have it,she eventually realised that acting is what she wants to spend her life doing. Her crossover film,Lessons in Forgetting,based on a novel by Anita Nair and directed by Unni Vijayan,is slated to be released at national and international film festivals.
Tideman’s passion for acting is backed by a degree from an acting school in Prague. “After school,I went to university in Holland. I studied criminology,sociology,but I quit after two years. I realised that I didn’t want an institutionalised education,” she reveals. Her time in Prague was of brilliant experiences,she says. “Because one of the first things we learnt was that in order to be an actor,one needs experience. We were allowed to throw ourselves into bizarre experiences and make a fool of ourselves from time to time,” she describes.
It’s barely been a year and a month that she came back and settled in Mumbai. “A month after coming back to India,I auditioned for a play and through that I landed the film,Lessons in Forgetting. It’s an interesting subject of how two stories intertwine,” she says. The film is about how one can overcome obstacles. For one character (Meera),it’s about getting over a heartbreak; for the other (Jak),it’s about finding out what’s happened to his daughter and in the process,they meet. “I play Smriti. She’s half American,half Tamilian and comes to India to explore her roots. She gets involved with a theatre project which leads her to unravel a huge issue – female infanticide – within smaller districts in Tamil Nadu. Her father Jak comes to India when he hears that something has happened to her,” she says. The film is in English with bits of Tamil.
The shoot wrapped up in two months last year. “Adil Hussain (who plays Jak) insisted on two weeks of rehearsals. At that time,there were a lot of newspaper articles on female infanticide so I had enough research material,” she says. Tideman has also worked with director Kaushik Mukherjee for Tasher Desh (Land of Cards),an adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s famous dance opera by the same name. “I play a card that undergoes transformation. It’s a story about liberation,” she says. She considers herself lucky that such projects have fallen into her lap. “I am open to everything,even Bollywood,but I prefer films which I consider intelligent,which challenge the viewers more,” she says. In between working on such projects and fine tuning her acting skills,she conmtinues to visit Pune. “My family is here and I come ever so often,” she says.