Catching up with with Tannishtha Chatterjee

By Smita Sarkar
From The London Indian Film Festival

Smita Sarkar

Smita Sarkar

The gorgeous, talented and versatile Tannishtha Chatterjee will be a popular face in the prestigious London India Film Festival 2016; the only actor to have two films screened.

BollywoodJournalist caught up with her at the after-party of the festival’s opening film Parched, where she chatted energetically about her roles in the festival films (Parched and Island City) and her upcoming release Unindian with Australian cricketer Brett Lee.

She beamed as she said that Parched was a ‘dream project’ for all the actors in the film.

“This was the only film where all the complexities of the characters were scripted so well by Leena Yadav.”

“Leena and I would meditate before shooting an intense scene and she did not follow any strict schedules — often shoting scenes out of turn because we were deep into the mood of a sequence.”

Tannishtha played the role of Rani, a young widow and a single mother in a small village in Gujarat. The film revolves around the turmoil of four women, trapped in conservative traditions, and their small steps to break out of them.

Excited about two films with featured women directors, Leena Yadav and Ruchika Oberoi; she said Island City is a must watch for the festival – with three tragi-comedy films interwoven beautifully by Ruchika.

“I play a city girl and it’s a love story set in Mumbai. The film is made of three short stories with an unusual blend of comedy, digital and technological themes and romance,” said Tannishtha.

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 18: Actress Tannishtha Chatterjee attends the 'Monsoon Shootout' Premiere during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 18, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 18: Actress Tannishtha Chatterjee attends the ‘Monsoon Shootout’ Premiere during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 18, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

She is the heroine of the third story Contract where she is torn between her raucous boyfriend and an ambiguous lover who sends her mysterious love letters.

The film was screened at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival and Ruchika bagged the prestigious FEDORA prize for the Best Young Director.

Tannishtha’s romantic comedy Unindian, is an Indo-Australian production directed by Anupam Sharma.

“It’s a unique love story and I’m looking forward to its India release on the 15th of August (2016),” smiled Tannishtha.

She plays a ‘contemporary, progressive, single mother, strong woman’ in Unindia – different from the abused-South-Asian-woman roles she played in Brick Lane, Gulabi Gang and Parched.

She beams when I ask her about her co-star Bret Lee. “He (Bret Lee) is practically half Indian. He has been travelling to India since he was seventeen, and it’s like a second home to him. He runs a Charity Foundation for children in India, supporting it through fund-raisers by his music (company).

Will she be keen on acting in Bengali or other vernacular films?

“Haan, bhalo role pele nishchoi kaaj korbo, (I will definitely consider them, if I get good roles).”

Acting in these different roles “is tough, but you need to create things for yourself,” Tannishtha signed off.

She will be travelling to Birmingham on the 15th July for her film screenings there, winning hearts with her performance and humility, just as she won ours at the opening night.



About LIFF:

The London Indian Film Festival, described as Europe’s largest Asian film event, is branching out to Birmingham this year. Cinemas and venues across the city will be hosting film premieres alongside screenings of specially-selected work from a number of acclaimed directors and producers from South Asia.

The Midlands Arts Centre and Cineworld Broad Street will host screenings as part of the growing film festival. Organisers say they included Birmingham in their line-up because of the city’s cultural vibrance. The festival will run here from the 20th to the 24th July.


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