Not Just Bollywood | Tisca Chopra on being an actor: ‘Sometimes it is a clash between commerce and creativity’

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with Firstpost, actor Tisca Chopra talks about her latest series Dahan showing on Disney+ Hotstar, the change of female representation in cinema and her journey in the entertainment industry.

Lachmi Deb Roy September 19, 2022 06:30:17 IST
Not Just Bollywood | Tisca Chopra on being an actor: ‘Sometimes it is a clash between commerce and creativity’

Tisca Chopra

Actor Tisca Chopra is fondly remembered for her memorable performance as the mother of a dyslexic child from Taare Zameen Par. Known for her craft and her performance in doing unconventional roles, Tisca’s journey in the entertainment industry has not been easy. Tisca once mentioned in an interview that she had to change her name to Priya Arora to fit into the industry. But life had other plans for her. She took a break to work on her craft and came back with the award-winning film Taare Zameen Par. A film that changed her entire career graph.

In an interview to Lachmi Deb Roy, the actor talks about how her bank balance is a lot less hefty because she chose not to be boxed.

Edited excerpts from the interview:

On women roles changing and OTT giving a huge boost to it.

A blessing I would say honestly and I know almost all actresses have faced a ‘sale by date stamp’ on them and that happens when you are reaching your prime on how to conduct yourself to a role.

Now you have very fleshed out characters for women and the character could have a deep flaw. Avni in Dahan is also dealing with massive shortcoming within and you realise that in the first few scenes itself. And as things unfold, her inner life also starts unfolding and that’s part of the story just like magic.

Your views on the advantages of the series format…

Unlike a film, a series also gives you a lot of chances to develop on the character. And you really get to live with the character and through so many seasons. I am living the best time as an actor. I feel it is a golden time for all actors who have been waiting for so long to showcase their craft.

Tell us about your journey in the entertainment industry.

In the beginning of my career everybody wanted to typecast me and I feel my bank balance is a lot less hefty because I rejected the stereotype again and again. Sometimes it is a clash between commerce and creativity. As actors we want to do different roles and be stretched and pulled in different directions with challenges and that’s the beauty of being a happy and contented craftsman. But that wasn’t happening initially in the entertainment industry. It was with the coming of OTT that things changed for good.

On the role that you play in Dahan

The character that I play is called Avni Raut. I would call her a superhero, but she is rooted in India. She is the kind of person who you would want on your side and she is not afraid of taking a stand. She goes through a lot of struggles to accomplish what she does in life. She is an IAS officer. She has been given the responsibility of opening a mine in Shilashpura and Shilashpura is the place of mystery and has a lot of superstition and myths around it and when she gets there a bunch of obstacles come her way. Simultaneously she is dealing with her own weaknesses. So the story is about how she deals with Shilashpura and all the myths and superstitions around her and how she sets things right.

Not Just Bollywood  Tisca Chopra on being an actor Sometimes it is a clash between commerce and creativity

Tisca Chopra in Dahan

What was your preparation like and any research that went behind it?

For all my roles I generally rely on my directors. So, director Vikranth Pawar’s story put a lot of information into it. I had to literally cherry pick some traits and background on where she is from and work on her mannerism. For quite some time my character’s name was Meera. I had done Hostages for Hotstar and the character’s name was Meera and that worked well for the show. So, the team wanted to keep the same name. But I wanted another name and we finally found the name Avni and I really liked it.

I had to go through intense physical training for five months. Getting fit was the toughest part. When the shoot happened everyone was coming out of the lockdown and I had to hit very hard fitness levels and I wanted to do that so I broke my workout into two parts like stretching and yoga in the morning and in the evening I did Pilates. And then I started doing yoga in the morning and Pilates and brisk walking in the evening and the workout in the evening was for two and a half hours.

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