Tamannaah Bhatia says a film isn’t just about the art form but also the money it makes
While most stars are seemingly concerned about the length of their role in a film, Baahubali actor Tamannaah Bhatia has her own parameters for choosing a project, and giving her nod to a character. When approached for a film, it isn’t the screen time that is on her mind, but the script, and overall appeal of the project.
“It’s the entire film that has to interest me and not just the character that I am offered. After all, the audience will eventually watch the film, and if they like it, only then will they like a particular character. It should be able to engage the audience for its entire length,” says Tamannaah, who burst onto the scene at the age of 15 in Chand Sa Roshan Chehra (2005), and enjoys massive recognition in Telugu and Tamil cinema.
The 28-year-old reveals that there have been times when she accepted films out of reasons other than this. “Out of sheer respect for the people I look up to in the industry, I do say ‘yes’ to projects, at times. It helps me learn a lot. Also, if I am playing a small role in a good, content-driven film, I say yes to it. But there have been times when I said ‘no’ to films because I was not convinced with the content,” she adds.
The Entertainment and Humshakals (2014) actor vouches for the connection and impression that content-rich films can establish with a wide variety of audiences. “So many different kinds of movies in various languages are being made. So much is also happening online and in television. So, the story is of prime importance to me, and I feel inclined towards the realistic space,” says Tamannaah, who plays the lead in the Telugu remake of the 2014 hit film Queen, which featured Kangana Ranaut.
It’s a time when the industry is increasingly coming up with films fronted by women — Veere Di Wedding, with an all-female star cast, Meghna Gulzar-directed Raazi, starring Alia Bhatt, Padmaavat, with Deepika Padukone in the lead, Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016), the Kahaani franchise, to name a few. But Tamannaah says that the amount of screen time actors get in a project depends on their saleability, which, she feels, is fair.
“It’s part of the business. Film is not just about the art form but also how it fares at the box office. When it comes to a character, I make sure that it adds to the plot. It’s a constant quest to push the bar, and work in films that allow me to prove what I can do as an artist,” she says, explaining how she makes the most of the opportunity she gets. “Also, I feel good about the fact that so many female-centric films are being made today, and with time I am hopeful that the numbers will get better,” adds the actor, who is looking forward to the release of her Telugu film, Jayendra Panchapakesan’s Naa… Nuvve.
Interact with Shreya Mukherjee on Twitter/ @Shreya_MJ