Abraxas Lifestyle’s Executive Editor Seema Dhawan recently met Tanishaa Mukerji at Ramlila Maidan, New Delhi for an exclusive interview.
Tell us about your role in your upcoming biopic on Anna Hazare.
For this project, I am playing a journalist and what’s really interesting is that the media had a very interesting relationship with Anna Hazare during his movement at the Ramlila Maidan and we’re basically tapping into a little bit of that – how a media person was transformed by his (Anna Hazare’s) hope for our country.
How did you get into the skin of the character?
The film is very realistic. I saw multiple videos of Hindi journalists because there is a certain way in which they speak – when they are reporting, they have a kind of rhythm to their language. I had to really get into that kind of flow. Plus the Hindi is very strong, so I had to really work on that to get into the skin of my character.
This sort of a role seems to be very challenging….
Yes. If you are an artist and an actor, you would like doing something like this. It’s a meaty role and the female transforms in the film from someone who is jaded and not that involved in journalism to someone who’s very involved in what she’s doing. I think it was very interesting. I like playing these kinds of transformative roles.
What would you say about your transformation as an actor for this role?
As an actor when I started the project I was very intrigued by the way the journalists interact and the way they speak. When we started shooting, there were many scenes where my director would have to tell me, “I need you to have no emotion”. As an actor when you’re told to have no emotion, you wonder how to do that. But it’s very interesting because all the stress comes on the language, it doesn’t show on your face. So it’s a very interesting way to perform.
What would you say about your growth as an actor as well as a person from when you started out till now?
I think my growth as an actor has included a lot of self-revelations. When I first entered the film industry I was very Hollywood – I didn’t understand our industry because I had lived in Australia. I have not grown up going on set with my sister. When I started acting, I realised that our industry is very specific in how they want things. There are very few directors with a vision, which I understood later (laughs). Today I can see and understand which directors are the ones that can really transform your character.
So who all are on your wish-list of directors?
The one director who I never got a chance to work with was Yash Chopra – as a director he really knew how to draw out great performances from his actors. I think another director I would really like to work with is Raju Irani.
Do you also have a wish-list of actors?
I would love to work with Shah Rukh because I have seen him work with my sister and I think he’s a very generous actor. He really takes care of his heroines.
What about your brother-in-law?
I have already worked with my brother-in-law, but not in the front of the camera. As a producer, director and co-star, I would love to work with Ajay. He is so experienced and knows exactly how to handle the scene. Actors like Ajay are very challenging actors to work with simply because they take the scene beyond its written limitations.
What is success according to you?
Honestly, I don’t like to define success because success is personal. It’s your journey and there is no one single thing. You will succeed in one thing and fail in another. So you don’t reach any kind of pinnacle as you are constantly striving. And that’s what I think I’m all about – I am always striving.
How do you react to criticism?
I laugh at criticism. I love it. I feel more challenged when I am criticised. Earlier when I first faced criticism it was very hard. I didn’t know how to handle it. I didn’t know how to take it. I actually believed what people said about me – that I was fat, horrible, this, that… I am a very sensitive person so it really hurt me. I would take it to heart that they would compare me with my sister. I never compared myself with my sister and I still don’t. There is no comparison.
What about your other interests?
I have just launched my NGO which is all about the environment and planting trees. I feel very strongly about the environment. As a human being we have a duty to our children and future generations to maintain and revive what we have destroyed.