Meet the American in a Telugu film
Jade Tailor, half-Israeli (father is from Israel) and half American (her mother gave up ice-skating and acting to be a doctor) has always wanted to be a performer. She took up gymnastics at the age of three, ballet at four and singing at eight. It was but natural that she would turn to theatre and films later on.
She has quite a few stage shows (Grease, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying), television (True Blood on HBO) and films (Wedding Day) to her credit.
Now, the multi-talented actress is all set to make her debut in Adivi Sesh's Telugu film Karma, a supernatural thriller shot in the United States.
In Hyderabad, on her maiden visit to India, she shares notes on shooting Karma and about herself with Radhika Rajamani in this exclusive tete-a-tete.
Why a Telugu film?
I auditioned for it after I saw an advertisement which also had a bit of the synopsis. The story was beautiful and exciting.
What is it about Karma that attracted you? Is it because it is a supernatural thriller?
It was the script. I had studied Hindu scriptures years ago. The film was written beautifully using the Hindu scriptures in a modern storyline.
You said you gave an audition. What were you asked to perform?
I was given different scenarios. They asked me to enact scenes like what would I do if I won a lottery and how would I react if my best friend passed away. These were happy and sad scenes. There were 400 girls for the audition from different backgrounds and countries at San Francisco for the audition.
Image: A scene from Karma
'I am drawn to Hindu religion'
You said you studied Hindu scriptures. Did you read more about karma once you signed the role?
I love religion and culture, and was drawn to Hindu religion. After I got the role, I studied anything I could lay my hands on for a couple of months.
Could you talk about your role?
Padma, the character I play is in a sad phase when you meet her in the film. She has just lost her mother and is all alone. Her father had died when she was young. She is 22 years old and studying medicine and science. She is an atheist. Dev (Sesh) shows up in her life and impresses her with his uplifting and positive attitude. He believes in the scriptures. She begins to fall in love with him.
Image: Jade Tailor
'I had a few tutors to teach me Telugu initially'
How challenging was it for you to do a role in an alien language? How did you surmount the language barrier?
My father is Israeli and I speak Hebrew. Spanish is spoken in California. Telugu is different from both Hebrew and Spanish. I had a few tutors to teach me Telugu initially. We worked for many hours in a day. It was challenging and I love the challenge. I said the dialogues and later the voice was dubbed.
Sesh is also a debutant director and actor doing his first feature film. How was it working with him as a co-star and being directed by him?
It was great. We had an understanding relationship. We had long discussions. Acting with him was easy. Sesh is an easy director. He knows what he wants. He is kind and easy going, narrated what he visualised. He is good at visualising. It was a pleasure working with him.
Image: Jade Tailor and Adivi Sesh on location
'I have never worn such vibrant colours before'
Was there any scene which was taxing to do?
I like to push myself. If it's challenging, then it's rewarding too. There is a scene where I am kidnapped in the film and I have to get emotional. It was hard. I felt drained at the end of it but it was worth it.
Was the film shot in a single schedule?
Yes, over 58 days.
Did you enjoy wearing Indian clothes and jewellery in the film?
I loved wearing the half sari and the sari. Two people helped me with it. I have never worn such vibrant colours before. I also loved wearing the jewellery -- the hair ornament, the nose ring (had pierced my nose many years back), earrings and bangles.
What is it about Karma that you liked?
I liked everything about it. It can make you sad, happy, jump with joy, keep you on the edge of the seat. It is uplifting and inspirational. I am honoured to be a part of it.
Image: A scene from Karma
'I have been offered a few Indian projects'
How was the experience of shooting a Telugu film even though you worked with an American crew?
It was great. We shot at beautiful locations which I had never been to before. It was challenge to do so.
Would you like to work in more Indian projects?
Absolutely. I would love to.
Have you been offered any?
I have been offered a few. I can't say anything till things are finalised.
Is this your first visit to India?
Yes. I am enjoying seeing places in Hyderabad and shopping a bit.
What are your hobbies?
I love arts and crafts. I love making jewellery out of gemstones. I love reading books on fantasy, history, people and culture. I love nature, so l love hiking, mountain climbing, and skydiving -- anything adventurous. I like watching funny films because they make me happy. I love writing stories and screenplays.
You are also into singing...
I am a trained singer. When I get back to the US, I will be recording an album -- a classic jazz one where I have written the songs.
Image: A scene from Karma