You’ve had a very promising journey in the industry so far.
It has been a very interesting journey, five/six years now, lots to learn. Lots of ups, a few downs but more ups than downs and I am grateful for that.
How do you handle it?
I am a very sensitive person, so it’s not easy.
Do you get affected very easily?
I do get affected when things become personal. I think when you make up an equation with someone even if that person is a work-related person, I get attached very easily to people that mean something to me.So, for me, I feel sensitive if things don’t work out the way I know they were planned to. But I am learning a lot. With time I think as you grow older, in your twenties, you are always in any case learning so much. In this industry it’s a very specific kind of environment and if you are a sensitive person, it’s not always easy.
Have you been hurt? Because you are sounding hurt to me…
Sure. I mean I think all artists are at some level. Because there are certain expectations that you go through and that you have as an artist, as a human being and sometimes when things are disappointing or they let you down if you are very attached, that can hurt.
What is that specific thing that you are talking about here?
I think just alongside some of the most incredible experiences over the last 5-6 years, there have been some disappointments I think in the execution of things or in some promises that have been made and that haven’t been followed up on. As I am growing older and I am meeting more people in the industry, I notice that it’s not just happened to me. It’s happened to pretty much everybody which in a weird way gives me comfort in knowing that I am not alone in these experiences because a lot of people have gone through that. And it is very important to go through these experiences. It makes you very tough. It makes you understand the world better.
Does Tara take people at face value?
No, I am someone who is naturally intuitive. My dad is actually a very intuitive person. I think I’ve gotten that from him. So, I don’t go by face value. I like to understand the person, I like to notice things about them and I like depth. I don’t like upar upar se conversations, I don’t like that. So, I enjoy understanding that about people.
I don’t take people at face value. I like to take time and understand which is also probably why sometimes after you’ve taken time to get to know someone and then they disappoint you it’s even more disappointing. Because you have invested. But so far, my gut intuition has always been right. Maybe once or twice there’s been a mistake.
Do you make a mistake between a personal and professional relationship, that’s when things become problematic?
If I get attached to a work person, I treat them like a family. For me, there’s no difference. Because that’s how I’ve been brought up. It doesn’t matter if they are new in my life if they are co-actor or someone from the AD team or from you know anybody that I get close to. Even my personal team that work with me on all films and brands and all, when I get close to them it’s like, ‘Ok, now you are my chosen family.’
Do you think you made some mistakes in the kind of cinema that you chose to be part of or do you think you made the right choices?
I think the choices that I’ve made out of my own gut instinct and intuition have been right for me. I think at some stage recently I may have gone against my own instinct and you know it happens, when you are young you get advised by a lot of people, well-wishers, and well-meaning people, and sometimes you may not align with that. But you trust that instinct of the other person and you go ahead with the decision. That is the learning that I have had. Not to do that. Because if it doesn’t align with me on a very basic level, it will not be right.
What kind of cinema do you want to be a part of? And how do you work towards that?
I have always been introverted and to a certain extent too private about connecting with people. Because I’ve always been very shy. It doesn’t come naturally to me to socialise at a film party or even in general meetings. I am always listening more and speaking less. And I have noticed, in our industry, you have to be out there.
I’ve been raised to be very vocal about my beliefs. Professionally I am very vocal about what one deserves and what one should get. But I have been quieter about who I am. So, the directors, producers, may be the actors in the beginning first two years of my career didn’t know me at all.
Was it a shield?
No, I just wasn’t out there at all. But I have made that change where I have reached out to people and it’s made such a huge difference because it changes the complete perception of a person when you make that effort and a personal connection with someone else. So, I have done that and I am still in the process of doing and it’s very beneficial. It’s helped me a lot.
What kind of cinema do you want to be a part of going forward?
The kind of cinema that I grew up loving and still love. Not just a cinema, the theatre work and musicals… and in Bollywood basically every film is a musical. It’s full of songs and full of dance.
Don’t you think songs are disappearing from Hindi movies these days?
The memorable songs need to come back. There’s a reason why today even youngsters are playing Yeh Raatein Yeh Mausam or songs from Pyaasa. People my age actually love that music even though it’s less listened to. People still listen to them because of the memories; you can’t forget them. The lyrics are so beautiful. I hope that we bring that back because that’s something that I have always loved to do.
Before I first started acting in films, I was performing a lot in theatre and I’ve done a lot of musicals and I used to host a lot of musical concerts for myself because I used to be a singer. So that’s something I really want to bring back. In my last film, Ek Villain Returns I played a singer and I have sung two songs and I want to do that more.
Do producers give you the opportunity to sing in every film of yours or do you have to push yourself?
I just met with someone who has a wonderful story. I hope things fall into place when we do it. That’s also music related. I am excited about that.
How do you look at yourself in the insider-outsider situation?
It’s difficult. I’ve noticed, people who come from film families, their families have known each other for a long time. So, the children have also known each other for a long time. They are all part of a group of friends.
So that is the truth. But I think in almost with every film of mine, I’ve worked with an actor who comes from a film family and they are absolutely wonderful. They don’t take that for granted. They have never acted ridiculous or starry on sets. Some of them are actually more hardworking than even people who come from the outside.
So, I give them all credit for that. But it is difficult it’s very uniquely difficult for a person who’s not from the industry because you don’t have any guidance. You don’t really have anybody to help you out when you need that help. So, in that sense, it is a little more, lonely, but if you make friends, like I take advice from friends of mine from the industry because I trust them enough to be able to do that now. But pehele nahi hota tha.
What advice would you give to a young girl who wants to be a part of cinema today?
I think trusting your own instinct, knowing what’s good for you and staying true to your own values and beliefs and never changing that for anybody else in this industry.
For how many years have you been performing?
I have been performing on stage since I was Seven. So, 20 years now. Yeah, long time.
Where do you see theatre in today’s time?
You know there’s nothing more than a theatre. I sometimes think I love theatre more than I love films because there’s no experience like live music, live dance, live acting. You get one shot to do it. You don’t get multiple takes like you do in films. So, it’s a real thing. I always like to take a left to go to Prithvi theatre instead of taking a right to go to PVR because it’s so enjoyable for me and I love going to watch plays. There’s a play that I have seen twelve times. It’s called Stories and a Song. It shows very rarely but it’s just a fantastically beautiful play.
Is there a good audience for this now? How do you look at the theatre?
Well, every time that I have gone to a theatre, it’s been house-full. Because the plays that we are coming up with have always been superbly done. The casting, the dialogues, the delivery it’s just out of this world. So, every show I have been to has always been house-full so far. But I want more young people. They are all middle-aged and above.
Tell me about your new film Apoorva.
Apoorva is my first solo lead film and it’s a very unique story. It’s a survival story of a girl and it’s about a young women’s intuition. I think it’s something all women will relate to and it’s a very strong performance not only by me but even the co-actors of mine in the film are fantastic and a wonderful director and producer.
I am really looking forward to the teaser coming out hopefully soon. We spent two months shooting this every day in Rajasthan in very hot temperatures and very cold temperatures in a desert which was very difficult and demanding but was so worth it in retrospect. It is my favourite film that I have ever done, very difficult to do but very rewarding. And I am very excited, no one’s going to expect that I am going to do it. So that’s more exciting.
Are actresses in a commanding position today?
Well, I think yeah times have changed a little bit. But I think there are a lot more changes that need to be brought about for women in cinema. I think equal pay is something that we really need to talk about much more. It’s not enough just one actress speaks about or two actresses speak about it because it’s just very unfair, and I think that anything that’s bad and unfair needs to be spoken about. So definitely it’s a good time for women in the industry but there’s far more that we can talk about and make many more changes.