Qissa – Tillotama Shome

Tillotama ShomeTillotama Shome is a critically acclaimed and award-winning Indian film actress. She was seen in Monsoon Wedding, Shadows of Time, The Waiting City, Shanghai to name a few. Her recent project are “Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost”and “Children of War”. She earned her master’s in educational theater at New York University.

Interview by Stephen Thompson, Ph.D.

Welcome to OpenBeast. Tell us about yourself.

These open-ended questions without word limit make me very nervous (smiles). Nonetheless, I shall try and be brief about myself. I was born in Kolkata and subsequently traversed the length and breadth of India, learning new languages and forgetting the previous one with great ease. I had a stammer and led a largely happy but monosyllabic childhood until theatre discovered me and challenged the cops in my head that said I had a stammer. Acting became a metaphor for challenging the impossible. In a nutshell, that is me. A person who is discovering a multitude of handicaps and trying to make friends out of them.

Talk to us about “Qissa”.

Qissa is a fable told by Anup Singh. A story that explores the psyche of a family who loses more than one can imagine during the partition and that loss resonates in the various members of the family differently. The father seeks refuge in the idea of a son. His desire to have a son pushes him to raise his fourth daughter as a man and hurtles the destiny of the entire family in a direction of utter destruction. This perhaps is one way of looking at Qissa.

Describe your teaching experience at the high security US prison.

There is a fine line between those who are in prison and those who are outside it. While the ones inside know how fine the line is, the ones outside are pretty oblivious. My friends at Rikers taught me that. All it takes is one bad move to change your life, a life that is already disenfranchised by the system.

What would you consider as your one best achievement thus far?

I am often amazed by the fact that I am a full-time actress today and the monosyllabic life is a thing of the past.

Any upcoming projects or initiatives you could like to discuss?

Sold by Jeffrey Brown, Ludo by Qaushiq Mukherjee and a film by Soumendra Padhi

What are your leisure time activities?

Looking through the encyclopedia, cooking something I have not made before and reading and re-reading.

Thank you

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