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Home > City Resources > Entertainment  > Tara Deshpande

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Tara Deshpande
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 Modelling, 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 and work.

Tara's Childhood

Tara DeshpandeI 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 did that.

Her theatre days
Naughty me! After 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.

Those lovely eyesEntering 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 motion picture.

Looking upwards and beyond'Is 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 movie.

What followed...
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.

Handling criticism
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.

By: Sharmistha Chatterjee

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