COVER STORY

THE MANY COLOURS OF TISCA CHOPRA

THE MANY COLOURS OF TISCA CHOPRA

“If you are down and you wear a cheery colour, you’re going to perk yourself up” – Tisca on a bit of Nerolac in your life

Hi, I am Tisca Chopra and this is my first cover for in.com. I’m delighted because of the kind of boundaries that we’re pushing with the looks and the various colours that we’re doing… it’s exciting, it’s different and it’s covering a lot of facets of my life which I don’t think I’ve covered in any interview recently.
We tried to bring alive different shades of you. What shade of Tisca are we going to see uncovering in the future?

We tried to bring alive different shades of you. What shade of Tisca are we going to see uncovering in the future?

This sounds like a 50 Shades of Grey kind of situation. I think as one goes along in life, one has covered the major shades of life. While I’m evolving as a human being I’m looking to tone down certain parts of my personality – like I tend to be very aggressive, I tend to be very ambitious – so I’m trying to tone that down a bit and I’m trying to build a lot on my focus. I am sharpening my focus. If focus was a colour I would say it’s like gunmetal. I’m trying to sharpen that sort of colour very strongly. And if there’s aggression then I’m trying to bring the reds down to maybe like a coral – a slightly happier colour. So I think you’ll see a more rounded, happier palette.

26 years as an actor, producer and now director; a gradual progression that has put you in a great spot.

To give due credit where it is due – my husband who’s watched me through various ups and downs – he told me I should be getting behind my own work. Do stuff that I believed in. Chutney was the first produced piece of work that we put out from our company. The virality of that was just shocking. One night we were at 1.5 million views, 4 million on the second and on day 3 we had touched 6 million. We were like “What just happened here?”, and the kind of conversations that came out of that.

I think what is exciting for me going forward as a director is work that starts a conversation. That’s what Chutney did. When people saw the film, they wanted to talk about it. That’s the kind of work that I’d like to do, entertaining on the surface yet continuously teasing the viewer to think, discuss.

26 years as an actor, producer and now director; a gradual progression that has put you in a great spot.
It is an exciting time for filmmakers but do you also think that the same herd mentality that happened in the TV business is now getting into the OTT space as well?

It is an exciting time for filmmakers but do you also think that the same herd mentality that happened in the TV business is now getting into the OTT space as well?

It’s going to be rare that in a country like India there’s going to be pure, pure art. Cinema is expensive. It’s expensive in terms of time, it’s expensive in terms of finance. So I think one has to be cognizant of the fact that certain amount of cinema will be made to fulfil a certain business model. Television, however, became purely commerce – if producers could stretch an episode over a few years and make it work – they did. They stretched it till it became mundane and meaningless. The web I think hasn’t been bastardised yet. Its early days, and we do have a tendency as Indians to want to make a quick buck. But they don’t have the market pull of the star driven system the Indian film industry demands. People who are creatively driven and have stories to tell will be drawn to the web and that’s how pure I hope it remains.

You’ve been through multiple aspects of movie making. You’re also a mother. How easy or difficult is it to juggle this role?

Oh, my God! That is like…you’ve to be in it to be able to figure out how working mothers especially in the entertainment business [work] because there’s no nine to five. Each day requires you to be plugged in and plugged out simultaneously. So while I am at a shoot, one part of my brain is always plugged into motherhood because that’s your prime life-level responsibility. I don’t want to change that in any way. However, because you are working with emotions, you’re working with moods, you’re working with commitment to the work you’re doing – you can’t cheat on this either, and then you’re producing your writing etc…So my life is like a juggler with six balls up in the air, anyone is likely to fall at any time. And every day is different, so it is weird. And also at home, it is a bizarre situation. There are times when I am deep in thought about an idea and suddenly ‘Didi, aaj bhindi banaye ya beans?’ and I’m like ‘Arrey yaar…matlaab! Get a grip on it man!'

You’ve been through multiple aspects of movie making. You’re also a mother. How easy or difficult is it to juggle this role?
But in terms of Tisca the writer, Tisca the producer, the mother, the actress…what’s your favourite?

But in terms of Tisca the writer, Tisca the producer, the mother, the actress…what’s your favourite?

There are bits of everything that are very juicy for me. Writing on a good day is fabulous. If you’re getting your beats, if you’re not stuck in some sort of a loop where your character won’t do what you want it to do, then that’s great. Same with acting. I’ve been doing that for a long time so it’s relatively easier. Then it is spending time with my daughter which is just magical. Putting her to bed at night - if she goes to bed in 15 minutes. If it stretches to one hour then you’re like ‘arrey yaar!’ Engaging with her in conversation is actually very exciting. Producing is exciting too, when you’re getting a bunch of people together and seeing how everybody’s energy’s come together. Direction is something that I haven’t started, so I can’t really say how that would go, but I think I’ll enjoy it because I love telling people what to do.

With Savdhan India you’ll be seen on small screens soon. How is that different from the big screen?

I’ve been wanting to host television for a while because of the kind of access and reach that TV has is still unparalleled – unless you’re in a Salman Khan film, in that case, you’re everywhere. Other than that, television has an instant relativity. I like thrillers and crime in that format, so yes, I am enjoying the show very much. We’ve done upwards of 80-90 episodes already. It’s been pretty fun. there.

With Savdhan India you’ll be seen on small screens soon. How is that different from the big screen?
Is Taare Zameen Par still your favourite part in a movie that you’ve done?

Is Taare Zameen Par still your favourite part in a movie that you’ve done?

Is Taare Zameen Par still your favourite part in a movie that you’ve done?

I think Chutney’s far superseded TZP, purely because the genesis of Chutney was completely different. I used to perform it as a monologue at Prithvi theatre. I wasn’t allowed inside the theatre when I started off as an actor because they said ‘you’re not part of a theatre group.’ As an individual, you’re not allowed to perform in Prithvi.

So they said, “There’s a platform outside. If you want to perform you run the risk of somebody smoking a cigarette, or drinking tea or talking on the phone when you’re performing. If you want to perform and you can engage them, please engage them – aap kijiye.” That’s how that started and then the story developed over 15 years in my head. The character of Vaneeta from Chutney is definitely right up there.

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