The controversial film Brick Lane, based on the Booker-nominated novel by Monica Ali and starring Indian actors Satish Kaushik and Tannishtha Chatterjee, has won kudos from critics.
Tannishtha, who is in London, spoke to Patcy N over the phone, and talked about her character Nazneen in the film, the movie, the controversy and life after that.
You are an alumni of Delhi's National School of Drama. Were you born and brought up in India?
I was born in India but brought up in different places. I spent a lot of years in Delhi. My father had travelled quite a bit within India. From the age of 9 or 10, I was in Durban (South Africa). After pursuing my degree from Delhi University, I went to the National School of Drama.
When did you decide upon a career in acting?
Actually, it was by accident. Like a lot of my friends, I wanted to do a PhD in biochemistry or biotechnology. It so happened that I attended a workshop in the NSD during the summers. I liked it and applied. When I got through, I made a drastic career decision... It just happened. It was not that I always wanted to become an actor.
Was it difficult for you to choose between being an actress and a PhD in biotechnology?
It was a difficult decision because the Indian mentality is that if you are good in academics you don't go in for arts, especially performing arts. My family and friends believed that theatre and music were okay as hobbies, but science had to be my profession. Initially, I met with resistance. However, with time, my family came around and backed my decision.
Design: NV Reuben
Also read: Brick Lane's Tannishtha gets BIFA nomination