Tillotama Shome: Audience has given me the license to dream big, not give in to commercial calibrations
Tillotama Shome’s poignant performance as Ratna in Rohena Gera’s Sir touches a chord, evokes realisations regarding class divisions inherent in the Indian social structure. No doubt viewers are showering praises on her.
“The audience has given me the license to dream bigger and not give in to calculations and commercial calibrations. For good or bad, it has made me more idealistic... I’m genuinely grateful for the sudden surge of projects. But I’m taking time to decide what I want to do and why,” the actor reacts to the love, appreciation and offers coming her way.
In her career spanning two decades, Shome made interesting films such as Monsoon Wedding (2001), Shadows of Time (2005) and Qissa (2013). Many of her work, including these films, travelled to various international film festivals. Sir too was premiered at Cannes Critics Week. But, closer home, recognition for her has been limited. With Sir, things however have been different though. Does she feel had this acknowledgement come earlier her career would’ve taken a different turn?
“Who knows? But my practice of Buddhism allows me to enjoy the belief that a strong foundation takes a long time to build and is unseen. It needs time, away from the glare and the gaze of others… So where I’m, is exactly where I need to be,” she replies.
Appreciation raises expectation. But Shome has a different perspective. “I’m looking at is an anomaly, a glitch in the system, an exception.... the algorithm has momentarily been taken over by audiences love for an independent film. It’s heartwarming. I’m grateful and it’s definitely a first. But, one is accustomed to working in the shadows and taking joy from it. This is a bonus and an encouragement to continue being an oddball,” adds Shome, who’s working in directors Rima Das, Anup Singh, Saumyananda Sahi and Madhuja Mukherjee’s upcoming projects.
Sir was the new Hindi release that opened Indian theatres, but it worked better when released on OTT. Ask if she thinks OTT offers a much democratic space to creators and performers, Shome shares, “I’ve not done enough work on OTT to answer this question with much authenticity or research. But I hear things aren’t ‘so democratic’ in this brave new world either. This is sad but expected I suppose. Steering things to a more positive note, I thank the OTT’s for bringing home a host of wonderful actors and writers who’re speaking in different tongues, the sounds are diverse, the languages embracing the richness of the vernacular and specificity of a place and time. This plurality of voices is exciting.”
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Author tweets @Shreya_MJ