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Reel Awards Nominee Tillotama Shome On Working With Konkona, The Blurring Lines Between Art-House & Commercial Cinema

Tillotama Shome has been nominated in the Best Supporting Actor (Female) category in the first edition of News18 Reel Movie Awards for her portrayal of Bonnie, which brought to screen myriad layers to her character and stayed with the viewers long after they left the theatre

Kriti Tulsiani | News18.com@sleepingpsyche2

Updated:March 20, 2018, 3:14 PM IST
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Reel Awards Nominee Tillotama Shome On Working With Konkona, The Blurring Lines Between Art-House & Commercial Cinema
Image: Getty Images
The year 2017 can easily be termed as a time when most star-studded, big-budget productions crashed at the box office while simple yet unconventional films with a conscience and heart began to lead the way. The year saw a rise of ‘actors’, nuanced performances and relatable stories earning all the love while simultaneously marking the emergence of experimental filmmakers and their stories. One such performance was that of Tillotama Shome, who starred in Konkona Sen Sharma’s directorial debut A Death In The Gunj alongside the likes of Vikrant Massey, Ranvir Shorey, Kalki Koechlin, Gulshan Devaiah, Jim Sarbh, Tanuja and late actor Om Puri. Shome has been nominated in the Best Supporting Actor (Female) category in the first edition of News18 Reel Movie Awards for her portrayal of Bonnie, which brought to screen myriad layers to her character and stayed with the viewers long after they left the theatre. In an interaction with New18.com, Shome spoke about her character, experience of working in the film and the blurring lines between ‘commercial’ and ‘artsy’ cinema. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

On Being Nominated As The Best Supporting Actor (Female)

I feel I have been accepted in the industry. Every nomination feels like someone is lending me support not just for a particular film I am part of but for being who I am, for doing what I did in all the years that led up to this acceptance and for not giving up. I am acutely aware that my belief in myself is the most important but these encouragements are very welcome! But what makes it the sweetest is that it was for Konkona’s film, a friend who worked tirelessly to create this film, someone who believed in me so unconditionally. I had to respond to that trust with my everything. In a cynical world to get recognized for sincerity is pretty special I think.


On Her A Death In The Gunj Experience

I was very grateful that Konkona was able to make this film despite huge obstacles. Working with this cast was such a joy because we were already friends and I felt supported throughout. Working with Om ji and Tanuja was, of course. the most surreal part of it. Om ji and I stayed in Mcluskie Gunj as we wanted to avoid the long daily commute from Ranchi. His stories and his laughter will remain with me forever.


On Her Layered Character Bonnie


Bonnie: the name itself indicates a certain joy. A film about a bunch of friends who go on a holiday was in itself a far cry from the intense broodiness of the characters that I have played in the past. I am aware that I have a propensity for intensity and I enjoy it too. But I was afraid that perhaps I was incapable of exploring the lighter more joyous facets of life in my work. I also loved the fact that Bonnie, despite not being obviously aggressive, had a unique brand of cruelty. The cruelty of the careless. I could have been Bonnie for another month. In fact, I had to consciously stop myself from sounding like Konkona even after the film was over.




On Working With Konkona Sen Sharma, The Director

Gentle but firm! She sees the world of the film with a certain intimacy that a writer has. She had her moments of doubts and challenges being a first time director working within many constraints. But the most reassuring thing about her was her meticulous pre-production preparation and her ability to go with her gut in extremely challenging situations. She knew that the buck stops with her, she was responsible for the film and she owned it like a General and led us all to realize that vision.


On Audience’s Acceptance of Unconventional, Content-driven Cinema

'The audience' is often used as the invisible, collective excuse behind which we want to hide when we want to play it safe. There have been independent, smaller films that have had an encouraging audience. The onus is on us, who are part of creating content, not just the audience.


On The Blurring Line Between ‘Commercial’ and ‘Artsy’ Cinema

I meet people who swing between an optimistic and a doomsday version of the state of independent films. For my sanity, I would like to believe that it was always very difficult for independent filmmakers to tell stories their way, it will continue to be difficult but it will always exist. The lines between commercial films and independent films will blur to the extent we intermingle, collaborate and learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s a slow process even if you are an optimist.


The REEL Movie Awards are India’s first and only movie awards that recognise and reward New Age Cinema and its artists who deserve glory as they champion creative visual storytelling and epitomize diversity in uniqueness of content.

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