Delhi-based actress Tannishtha Chatterjee is one amongst a small number of Indian actors who are perhaps better known in the west than in their own country, but she hopes to change that really soon. She already has a number of solid performances in her profile including Brick Lane, based on the book by Monica Ali and also starring Anne Hathaway – and the soon to be released Bhopal: Prayer for Rain, opposite Martin Sheen, which early reports suggest could be a real stunner.
Tannishtha is also working hard in parallel cinema with such projects as Bombay Summer, Barah Anna and The Sunrise, which is a silent movie in which she plays a woman trapped in time. In Barah Anna, a movie that looks at the how the teeming underclass of Mumbai survives, Tannishtha appears opposite Naseruddin Shah and she is full of praise for him: “Naseerudin Shah has been my teacher. I really adore the way he keeps re-inventing himself. His passion and dedication for his work is so inspiring,” she says. The movie is similar to Aravind Adiga’s Booker-Prize winning White Tiger but is not said to be directly based on it.
Was it a conscious decision on her part to work in parallel cinema? “It was not planned that I will only be a part of parallel cinema,” she explains, “In the beginning of my career, I obtained some very strong women-oriented roles and the opportunity to work with great international and Indian directors. I can say that I was lucky to get such strong parts.”
However, she would love now to do some Bollywood projects. “Yes, I know there’s a dearth of good female-centric films in Bollywood, but I don’t mind playing the second fiddle to the hero once in a while,” she confesses, “I’d love to do comedy with Akshay Kumar, an action film with Saif Ali Khan and a romantic film with Aamir Khan. I’d be a good package deal since I can not only act, but also dance and sing.”