We hardly celebrate good cinema in India: Tannishtha Chatterjee


Acclaimed actress Tannishtha Chatterjee, known for her power-packed performances in movies like “Rough Book”, “Angry Indian Goddesses” and “Parched”, says most of the Indian cinema is a celebration of glamour and star power rather than good stories. However, she feels the scenario is changing.

Tannishtha’s latest film is Garth Davis’s “Lion”, which has received six Oscar nominations. She says the movie is being lauded widely across the globe because of its story — which is of an Indian boy — and how the producer mounted the film to reach out to maximum people, but she also believes appreciation from the audience is equally important.

“Earlier also, I have worked in crossover projects and one of my films ‘Brick Lane’ received a lot of appreciation abroad. In fact, I received a BAFTA nomination for that. However, in India, such films do not receive much admiration because we hardly celebrate good cinema,” Tannishtha said.

The actress who plays a crucial part in “Lion”, said that though the length of her role is short, she is privileged to essay the part and work with Davis.

Sharing the story of how she bagged the role, she said: “I met Garth once during his visit in India where he said I and Nawaz (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) are the two Indian actors he would like to work with some day as he loves our work.”

“Later, I got an email from Garth with the script where he offered me a role in the film. I must say, no one ever cast me in such a character. So, though the length of the role is short, I did it.”

“Lion” is based on a real life incident and all characters are from real life. But Tannishtha’s character is fictional.

Asked if that justifies the story, she said: “Yes, it does. In the book, there was a character of an old man, whereas in film, Garth fictionalised his character into two individuals that Nawazuddin and I played. So I think the essence of the character and its emotion remained same.”

What about the Oscar nominations for “Lion” — does she feel it will clinch the awards?

“Well, the film is doing well. I do not want to anticipate anything but want to be pleasantly surprised.”