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‘One Day Will Come When Indie Films Will Stand in the Same Position with Other Bollywood Hindi Cinema’: Tanima Bhattacharya

March 19, 2016 | By

Tanima Bhattacharya is an actress whose first film Saankal (Shackle) have got rave reviews at the different film festivals across the world. She is also the Director’s Assistant and Executive Producer of PISCEANN PICTURES who produced Saankal. Silhouette editor Amitava Nag interviews this young talent.

A poster of SankaalSaankal (Shackle) is Tanima Bhattacharya’s debut feature film where she plays Abeera, a rural Rajasthani woman who was forced to marry multiple times to grooms who were young teenage boys. This was a rare custom of a particular Rajasthani community whose ill effects had deep roots ingrained in an inhuman and ghastly social practice. Amitava Nag, editor, Silhouette got a chance to interview the actress who already have received accolades and a few awards for her acting in the complex yet subtle role. 

Tanima Bhattacharya – as Abeera in Sankaal (Shackle)

Tanima Bhattacharya – as Abeera in Sankaal (Shackle)

Amitava: Please tell us about Saankal (Shackle) – how did you get the story?

Tanima: It was a true incident which came out as very small news in the newspapers.  And as far as I am concerned it’s a gift to me from our Captain of the Ship Mr. Dedipya Joshii. He was very confident with me that I can do justice to the character Abeera.

Amitava: How did you shoot it – bet it must have been difficult to convince the local people and shoot the film? What challenges you faced?

Tanima: It  was not easy to shoot . Not only because of the local people only, but the weather was also quite bad at the time. It was -3 degree so we were almost freezing. Also, there was no light in the evenings. The lights we used during our shooting were the only source of light for the particular area and the rest was all dark. But that was a unique experience.

Amitava: You are part of the Pisceann Pictures who produced the film. How did you land up in the role of Abeera?

Dedipya Joshii – the director of Sankaal

Dedipya Joshii – the director of Sankaal

Tanima: I work with Mr. Dedipya Joshii in PISCEANN PICTURES as Director’s Assistant and Executive Producer and also as freelance. I am blessed and lucky that Dedipyaji felt that I can do it and he gifted me Abeera along with Saankal.

Amitava: Tell us about the preparation you had taken to essay the role.

Tanima: It was not at all easy to portray the character in our film.  My co-actor Mr. Chetan Sharma and I went to Jaisalmer in search of them and finally we found them. We spoke to them, had done some shoot with them to read them, to observe them again and again. That was the only one way I had done the total home work by mere observing the people there, the women how they walk, how they sit, how they behave. I must also mention the support I got from my co-Actor Mr. Chetan Sharma. His chemistry with me always took me in a different world to portray this role. Even in dubbing he supported me to clear my diction since in the dialogue there is a touch of rural Rajasthani which I initially found a bit difficult to adopt. I am immensely thankful to our director Mr. Joshii who was also the producer and screenplay writer of Saankal. I also need to thank the whole unit of PISCEANN PICTURES. 

Amitava: The film won a lot of awards it seems. Can you please list the awards?

Tanima Bhattacharya and Chetan Sharma- the lead pair in Sankaal

Tanima Bhattacharya and Chetan Sharma- the lead pair in Sankaal

Tanima: I would love to answer this.

  • The indie gathering -Aug 2015, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

(Best Female Lead and Best Foreign film)

  • Russian International Film festival, October 2015, Online

(Best Film and Best Actress)

  • Shaan E Awadh International Film Festival, Nov. 2015, Lucknow

(Best Film, Best Actress, Best Director)

  • California Film Awards, Jan 2016, USA

(Gold Award – Foreign Film Competition)

  • Kalyan Intrnational Film Festival Maharashtra, February 2016

(Best Story)

  • Best Film (Women Section) in DFW Dallas South Asian Film Festival, Dallas February 2016.

Amitava: What is the response of the film and the role? What are the plans for releasing it?

Tanima: The response is too good. We really feel happy that whoever has seen our film each and everyone from any corner of the world came to know about this custom from us. The audience has always felt sad about the unfulfilled love story of Abeera and Kesar. The reaction  has been too emotional from each and every person almost always. That makes us humbled and we feel blessed to connect with our audience.

We are planning to release our film in this year only. You know film industry is changing, now it is coming up with both types of films viz. Artistic and Commercial. To release our film we are looking for a joint venture with some distributor who can stand with us to support the film and the story we depict in it. We are hopeful that with the positive response that we are getting from the audience and the festivals where the film has travelled we will surely get a distributor. 

Tanima Bhattacharya in a scene from Sankaal

Tanima Bhattacharya in a scene from Sankaal

Amitava: What are your next plans as an actress?

Tanima: I am only one film old as an actress! Right now I would love to just work a lot – probably in both mainstream films as well as parallel/art films.

Amitava: What is your observation on the low-budget, indie film scene in India – the prospects and future?

Tanima: I am probably not in the best place to comment about it yet. But whatever I have observed, it’s doing quite good now and I truly believe that slowly one day will come when the indie film will stand in the same position with other Bollywood Hindi Cinema.

Amitava: As a social person, do you feel films like Saankal having strong social messages will actually change the society a bit as well? What role does this film play in today’s society?

Tanima: This was the only one way in front of us to stand for them. We can’t go door to door.

And yes I must say again that the way we are getting response from each and every corner of the world we can always hope that with people getting more and more aware these types of rituals will change one day. Obviously we can’t be 100% sure but we can always hope for the best. That’s why our director Mr. Dedipya Joshii ended up our film with a positive ending. 

Amitava: Dear Tanima, best of luck for Saankal and all your future films.

Tanima: Thank you so much, Amitava for this lovely interview.

More to read in Interviews

‘The Film (Capital I) was Meant to Disturb the Ones in Comfort, and Comfort the Ones Who are Disturbed’: Amartya Bhattacharyya

‘It Would Have Been Very Easy to Make a Film on the Life of Zarathustra’: Oorvazi Irani

‘Kadambari was a Challenge’: Suman Ghosh

‘I Consider Myself A Writer First’: Chauranga Director Bikas Mishra

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Whether you are new or veteran, you are important. Please contribute with your articles on cinema, we are looking forward for an association. Send your writings to amitava@silhouette-magazine.com

Amitava Nag is an independent film critic based in Kolkata and editor of Silhouette. His most recent book on cinema is Satyajit Ray’s Heroes and Heroines published by Rupa. He has also authored the acclaimed Beyond Apu: 20 Favourite film roles of Soumitra Chatterjee published by Harper Collins India. He also writes poetry and short fiction in Bengali and English – observing life in a platter.
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