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'I am Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh!'

April 18, 2024 12:04 IST
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'I am a straight 3.0 version!'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Tanishaa Mukerji/Instagram

Tanishaa Mukerji started her acting career with a bang when she got to play a YRF heroine in her second film Neal 'n' Nikki (2005).

Unfortunately, the project met with an overwhelmingly negative reception.

Some two decades later, Tanishaa is embracing her '3.0 version' as she hopes to take on more work.

She features in this week's release Luv You Shankar, and tells Mayur Sanap/, "Ours is a fantasy film about baby Shankar. For the first time, we will see this avatar on screen. There's also baby Ganesh, baby Bheem."

Luv You Shankar revolves around Shiva mythology. Are you a spiritual person?

Yes. I don't believe in that word 'mythology'. That's a word created by the British.

There's nothing in our books that says Shiva was mythological. I think that Shiva did exist.

But yes, ours is a fantasy film about baby Shankar. For the first time, we will see this avatar on screen.

There's also baby Ganesh, baby Bheem.

It is a lovely adventure film for children and adults.

What was the fun of working in an animation film?

Well, it was not easy during the shoot.

We had to imagine the character of baby Shankar (while enacting a scene), and I do not have a very colourful imagination.

When I saw the trailer, I was in awe of the fantasy that my director has created with this film.

IMAGE: Tanishaa with her sister Kajol, brother-in-law Ajay Devgn, nephew Yug.

This is going to be a fun treat for your niece and nephew. Are they excited to see it?

Well, Nyasa is a little more adult now.

I am sure Yug would love the film. He enjoys such animation films.

How is Shreyas Talpade as a co-star?

This is our second film, actually.

We had done one film before called Chemistry, but it didn't release.

We got friendly during that shoot. I also met his wife, and all of us became friends.

I was really happy when this film was offered to me because Shreyas is a phenomenal actor and a great person.

IMAGE: Tanishaa with Tanuja and Kajol.

One of your early films was with YRF, one of the biggest banners but things did not work out for you as expected. What went wrong?

Well, I can't tell.

For me, Neal 'n' Nikki was a success because I successfully portrayed that character to a T.

People still remember me for that film. It became such a popular character worldwide.

I did everything right on my part, but you can never guess what audiences would like. That's never in our hands.

Do you think people were mean when they compared you with mom Tanuja and sister Kajol?

No, it's the opposite.

That comparison lifts a person because you are being compared to such big names.

You don't compare a newbie to a Dilip Kumar, right? But I was being compared to Kajol, which was huge. She's a multiple Filmfare Award-winning actress.

To be compared to that level of acting was a plus point.

IMAGE: Tanishaa in Love You Shankar.

Is it difficult to be a public figure in this age of social media because people can say anything under anonymity?

Nothing like that. If you know how to handle it, it can be amazing.

It allows me to interact directly with my audience.

I have built a very positive relationship with my audience. The audience can interpret me directly. This is the biggest plus point for an actor.

We don't have to go via, via anymore. We are not dependent only on interviews.

During Neal 'n' Nikki, many critics gave it negative reviews and I thought even the audience was thinking the same way.

The other day I was doing an interview with Shreyas, and he said I was the hottest thing and people had gone mad seeing me in Neal 'n' Nikki.

Today, the audience can directly express what they think because of social media.

Do you consider the current phase of your career as Tanishaa 2.0?

(Laughs) I am a straight 3.0 version! I believe in the number 3.

I am Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh!

IMAGE: Tanishaa with Tanuja, Kajol, Ajay, Yug and Ajay's sister Neelam.

Who do you go for career advice: Ajay Devgn or Kajol? Who gives better advice?

I go to both, for different reasons.

There's no better or worse advice, they just have different viewpoints.

I also reach out to Mom if I am conflicted about something.

All three give me different advice and I see what could be the best solution out of that.

How do you deal with social media toxicity?

I just block and ignore all the negativity because there's no objectivity to negativity. It's just negative.

When someone does name-calling, when they call you buddi, it is just plain negativity. You just ignore that.

What would you do differently if you had to start over?

Wow (pauses).

I would have listened to my Dad (the late film-maker Shomu Mukherjee) more. That's what I would do.

What did he say to you?

He told me to do a lot more movies.

He told me to just keep working.

I would have worked more.

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