It has been quite a year for actor Tisca Chopra. Her film The Hungry — a modern-day adaption of William Shakespeare’s play Titus Andronicus — premiered at the prestigious Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival. And in October, the actor found herself at the eye of a storm when in one of her interviews, she was quoted saying that women who are sexually harassed are as much to be blamed as the perpetrators. The actor, subsequently, was incessantly trolled on social media. It was also the year when audience woke up to another facet of Chopra’s personality. She had co-written the short film Chutney, which had released 2016-end, and stunned everybody with her performance and unusual storytelling. Chopra was recently in the Capital for the launch of Om Book Shop’s biggest outlet in DLF Mall, Saket, as well as the release of Anita Kumar’s book Cappuccino Confessions, where she spoke to indianexpress.com about stories, bookstores, the confidence she gained from the success of Chutney (with co-authors Jyoti Kapur Das and Avneesh Mishra) and being immersed in writing her next feature film.
The actor, who looked ravishing in black, looked visibly happy at the event and compared the experience of coming to a bookstore to opening a gift. “You never know what is inside,” she says. An author and a self-confessed avid reader, Chopra describes herself as a “book person” and reveals that she can be often found “at home with a book in hand”.
The topic of books is evidently something Chopra enjoys talking about and this is further affirmed when she presents an exhaustive list of authors whom she often goes back to. “Munshi Premchand, Bhisham Sahni, Anita Desai remain my favourites” she says, adding that in the contemporary scenario, she enjoys Amish and Amitav Ghosh’s novels . “I am an avid reader of Indian authors,” she gushes. And it is clear when asked about the one book from this year that has stayed with her. The answer comes swiftly — Arundhati Roy’s Ministry of Utmost Happiness.
Chopra, who received unanimous acclaim for her performance as a housewife who nurses menacing secrets, that she discloses at her will, in the short film Chutney, recollects conceptualising the story almost 17 years back, on the stairs of Mumbai’s Prithvi Theatre, alone. “I was just starting out as an actress and I did not have a theatre group I belonged to. I used to perform this as a solo monologue on the steps of Prithvi Theatre. Over the years the story kept on growing in my head as I added more shapes and colours to it,” she says, adding that she is proud of the short film and its success has given her confidence to try out something new. “Success of Chutney gave me confidence to try out something else. Till you do not see something succeeding you do not know what will work. It is vital that people connect to your imagination and the way you are thinking,” she says.
Apart from her acting credibility, her smart fashion choices have also been praised from time and again. Comfort remains a priority, and to dress event-appropriate. “Do not wear heels to a garden party and don’t wear boots in Bombay,” is her advice.