acting, writing: Tara Deshpande's juggling act
"I am a fighter to the core, no matter what hurdles
I face," says actress and writer Tara Deshpande.
An actress of substance, Tara's independent nature,
her indifference to the media and her striking resemblance
to the legendary Smita Patil have made her a kind of enigma.
Indias-best spoke to Tara Deshpande about her life
had a very nice childhood with lots of fun, friends, and family
get togethers. I was especially close to my parents and grandparents.
After having spent a couple of years in Delhi, I came to Mumbai.
I studied in Cathedral School. The school, to an extent, made
me what I am today by bringing out the best in me. As a child
my parents saw to it that I developed a sense of responsibility
and did not end up being a spoilt brat. I am really glad they
Her theatre days
my board exams, at the age of 15, my mother suggested I do
something useful, instead of wasting my time. In school I
used to take part in elocution and drama. It was then that
my love for acting developed. I joined a theatre company by
the name of Creators run by Javed Toprani. For
me, it was the most peaceful place to have been in. Having
started right from the bottom of the ladder, (serving tea
and helping out with the props), I just loved the experience.
I got Rs.150 a month and did not have to ask my mother for
money. It gave me a sense of independence and dignity.
the world of Hindi commercial cinema
Apart from a couple of Amitabh Bachchan starrers, I hardly
watched any Hindi movies. I wanted to learn writing but then
there was no institute in Mumbai which enabled you to sharpen
and polish your writing skills. I joined St. Xavier's for
my degree in Economics. During my first year in college I
did a play for the British Council. Sudhir Mishra saw me in
that play and offered me the role in Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin.
I was initially reluctant to be part of the movie as
I had heard that Hindi movies had no scripts. But then the
movie was so unconventional and turned out to be an exceptional
Raat Ki Subah Nahin'
Shooting for the movie was amazing. We started at 7 in the
evening and went on till 7 in the morning, after which I went
to college to attend my classes and was fast asleep even before
I knew it. I had no expectations when it came to the movie.
I was the youngest in the unit and everybody was very understanding
and nice with me. Sudhir and his wife continue to be among
my closest friends even today . It was so much fun doing the
A stint with Channel V, followed by modelling. I then
did Bada Din . It was very disappointing for people
did not even get an idea as to what exactly I was doing in
the movie . Even though I enjoyed acting I was not sure if
I wanted to take it up seriously. It was only with the success
of Bombay Boys that I decided to take up acting seriously.
Her forthcoming film
You must see Danger which is going to be to out
in January 2001. It is absolutely terrific. It is a psychological
thriller directed by Govind Menon . He came and gave
me a script in Hindi and English and asked me to go through
it and then decide on it . Its amazing how he knew the movie
frame by frame. I have never seen a producer like Vasant
Chedda. He knew the dialogues even better than the actors.
Technically, I would say it is very sound and you can catch
glimpses of Hollywood thrillers with stark clean lines.
Type of movie she wants to do
People often ask me if I am averse to the idea of doing hard
core Hindi commercial movies and I keep telling them no. My
only problem is that I cannot spend my entire careeer simply
jumping around trees singing and dancing. I am not willing
to do movies which defy logic. I cannot give them my best.
In the case of the David Dhawan movie with Govinda unfortunately,
because of my engagements in the US our dates did not work
out and I had to quit. But I will look forward to doing other
projects with Dhawan.
Writing 50 and Done
Writing for me is an independent activity and nobody
tells you what to do. It is entirely your own where you take
the brickbats yourself with nobody else to put the blame on
. Writing always makes me happy, and when I am writing I do
not have to pretend; I am not under pressure. In writing you
get to bring a character to life and the vision is entirely
yours. My grandparents, who were very academically inclined,
inculcated in me the desire to learn. What they did to me
was to make me love my Indian heritage.
When I write I do not do so with the sole intention of my
book becoming a bestseller. But then you obviously need a
balance between the money you earn and your ideals. I did
not write 50 and Done for money. I had collected the
reviews and definitely agree with them for I am aware of my
shortcomings as a writer. It will remain dear to me because
it has a simplicity and rawness which will be not be there
in any of my forthcoming books.
An actor or a writer ?
I love acting on stage. I like doing movies and I also
like writing. When I entered Bollywood, it was unheard of
that one could do films, theatre as well as write at the same
time. There is the set mentality that young people cannot
write novels. Writing is something which I can do over the
years, but when it comes to acting twenty years down the line,
there will not be as many oppurtunities as I have today .
I am confident about the fact that whatever I do will definitely
be quality work, for I do not want my children to see some
nonsense which their mother had done. My work should reflect
my choice and should be on my terms only. My books, even the
forthcoming ones, should be treated independently and not
for what I am.
In one of the reviews, a critic described me as a bimbo
and it was for the first time and I took it as a compliment
for no one has ever called me that. But then men do like dumb
blondes. When it comes to acting I somehow get hurt more,
even though you are the director's puppet and it is the director
who is majorly responsible for what you do.
Books to be released
There are two books which will be released in January next
year. The first one is a collection of verse which is very
close to my heart and is called Lovers and Kind. It
is not just about love between a man and a woman but treats
love as the motivating factor in people's lives. The other
book actually has been commissioned to be written and is called
The Motif, which is a murder mystery. I am really thrilled
about it, as it is a very unusual novel written in an unusual
manner. I am looking forward to its release . I have spent
the last couple of months simply analysing the various murder
mystery writers which enabled me to improve on my technique.
I am so excited about the whole endeavour.