On meeting actor, writer, model and VJ Tara Deshpande, one wonders where to begin — her VJing career, off-beat films that she was part of back in the ’90s, her catering business or her writing?
So, you settle for her recent work — a book called A Sense For Spice: Recipes and Stories from a Konkan Kitchen — also her reason to visit Chandigarh at the recently concluded Chandigarh Book Fair.
“It took me four years to write this book,” she says and adds, “All my writer friends kept asking me why it took so long. The glossary itself took one year. The book is at once an introduction to Konkani cuisine, one of India’s richest food cultures, and a fast-paced story about a family with a passion for good food and good times. I have also talked about the fading way of life of the idiosyncratic Konkan diaspora — a combination of uniquely tolerant cultures with quirky and mysterious histories.”
Tara also believes that India has progressed in a way that whether or not people like to cook, they like reading about food. “Reading about it makes them feel full perhaps, since they are perpetually on a diet!” adds she.
Though based out of the US now, the pretty lady would be spotted in India for the next few months, owing to her book. Her address changed from Mumbai to the US after marriage in 2000. “When I moved, no Bollywood films were being shot in the US. In a new marriage, one has to make certain compromises; I chose to compromise on my acting career. India has changed drastically now. But, I fell in love. When you fall in love, nothing else matters.”
But, since things have changed in the industry, Tara might just be interested in re-entering Bollywood. “Bollywood filmmakers are progressing. I would certainly fit into the style of cinema that is being produced now; had I been around, I’m sure I would have picked up a few projects. Even my films in the past — Sudhir Mishra’s Is Raat Ki Subah or Bombay Boys — revoled around very off-beat concepts. I hope a few film projects come my way by next year.”
When acting took a backseat, catering business was what Tara turned to. “What started off at my dinky stove to serve 200 people turned into a full-fledged business that ended up serving 15,000 at once. But, I sold the business a couple of years ago.”
Tara is currently working on her next book, a work of fiction.