Actor Tannishthaa Chatterjee, who was last seen in Sanjai Mishra’s Kadwi Hava, is outraged that film industry failed to come together as protests raged against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati. She also condemned the death threats issued to Bhansali and the film’s lead star, Deepika Padukone.
The actor, who has received critical acclaim for her films including Parched, The Angry Indian Goddesses, UnIndian and Chauranga, said, “It is ridiculous that anyone can issue death threats in this country and no action is taken by the authorities. The kind of reasons they have given for their protest are stupid, ‘Why have you shown her dancing!’ First of all, no historian has corroborated yet that Queen Padmini actually existed and secondly, dance and song is intrinsic to Indian films.”
Tannishtha will soon be seen along with Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vijay Varma in Monsoon Shootout that hits theatres on Friday.
Tannishtha in a still from Monsoon Shootout.
“Right from natya shashtra to Parsi theatre – the two things that have inspired Indian films – we express ourselves through dance and songs. Our films are essentially musicals. Do they even understand?” she asked.
She was also appalled at the lack of unity in the industry. “This was one big film where people should have united and protested against the vandalism and goondaism. At least as a symbol we should have voiced our protest against such censorship, but that did not happen. Javed (Akhtar) and Shabana (Azmi) ji tried their best but not enough people gathered for the protest,” she added.
Talking about the silence on sexual harassment in Bollywood, she claimed the environment has gotten better. “I think people do not make such advances anymore. Maybe the rise of more and more women directors and producers caused the change. With more women coming into power, people do not find it easy anymore to ask for sexual favours. I believe incidences of casting couch have reduced in the past few years. In a film festival like MAMI, 55% of the films were by women directors. So there is an improvement we have made on that front.”
Moving on to her upcoming film Monsoon Shootout, the actor said, “ I have a very small role in Monsoon Shootout. It is basically a boys’ film, with all the guns and gangsters in the narrative. However, I must add that my role is not a showpiece for the sake of having a woman in the man’s life. It has its own gravitas.”
Tannishtha claimed she shot in the dirtiest areas ever for the film. “I have played poor characters in my earlier films but all of them were shot in villages. For Monsoon, we shot in the dingiest of Bombay slums. And I had never been to those places before so the location was a real challenge for me. Also, I had just finished a shoot in London when I landed in Mumbai and began shooting for the film. The transition was too drastic for me to handle.”
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