Actor Tannishtha Chatterjee who has acted in quite a few international projects, says that the character one portrays in a film, decides whether they need an accent or not.
“In the Australian film Unindian, I played somebody who was born and raised in India, so my English was very much what we speak here and not Australian. If I were to play a character who was born and raised in New York right from childhood, I’ll have to put on that accent because that’s how people speak there. When I did Brick Lane, the guy who was playing my lover, had to pick up a Bangladeshi second generation accent, which is not Queen’s English. So it always depends on characters and nothing beyond that,” says Tannishtha who has worked in films such as Lion (2017), Unindian (2016), Brick Lane (2007) and Shadows of Time (2005).
She doesn’t understand actors who work in one or two international films and then flaunt an accent even when they are not shooting. “I understand that many actors try to maintain the neutrality or try to imitate an accent closer to the understanding of the given audience, and that’s what the makers want. Also, if one is doing blockbuster films in Hollywood, and there’s no time to establish a character’s history and logistics, so they have an accent. But otherwise, why would you speak like that all the time? I know so many people who go to New York for two years and then they start imitating an accent,” adds Tannishtha.
The actor, who’s been in Bollywood films such as Angry Indian Goddesses and Parched (2015), Gulaab Gang (2013), Road (2010), feels that this accent is a different aspect of the cultural hangover that most Indians have. “After being smitten by England, we are now we are totally smitten by America – for everything - the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the films we watch, the music we aspire to listen, the form of comedy we want to celebrate - everything is a reflection of that hangover,” she says.
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