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Tulip Joshi on <i>Shunya</i>

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Courtesy: IndiaFM
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
How many of you'll know that Tulip Joshi has flair for writing. When she suffered a slip disc, she started writing a script.

Tell us something about you next film Shunya.
It's a film I have shot for recently. All I can tell you at this time is that I play an actress and my co stars in the film are Kay Kay Menon, Naseeruddin Shah and Satish Kaushik.

It's being directed by Arindam Mitra who earlier produced Black Friday. Is this film also based on some social issue?
This film is his directorial debut. It was lovely working with him. It was great fun to shoot with him.

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How was it to work with Kay Kay Menon?
It was great. I learnt a lot from him. He's a great actor to watch and perform with. I had to do a lot of homework before I got on the sets. Unfortunately, I did not have a lot of scenes with Naseeruddin Shah. I was nervous because these actors are very experienced and have been around for long.

Has the film been completed?
Yes, the shooting is complete. I hope it releases soon.

Where was the film shot? How was the experience?
It was shot in Mumbai and Alibaug. I had a great time with everyone. The entire team was so professional. I believe after every film, I've become a better person and a better actor.

What are the other projects that you are working on?
I've just completed the shooting for Hostel. The songs are still pending. It's a movie about hostel life, basically! There is a lot of romance as well.

Did you have any apprehensions about Hostel since it's a male dominated film?
I am paired opposite the main protagonist, so it's good!

How did you get the film?
I got a call from the director, Manish and the producers. They told me that Manish had written Sarkar. So I thought it would be great to meet them and see what they had to offer. I thought the script was fantastic. I agree it's a male dominated film. But I have done a female oriented film, Matrubhoomi as well. Even in my debut film, I was the only girl with two guys. But then, there are all sorts of films. I can't keep doing the same thing over and over again.

What kind of films are you looking for?
One doesn't know what will work in the industry. So many times something that is hyped doesn't work. I am looking to work with good people who I can gel and vibe with. Something has to excite me. It could be the script or the director or the production house. That one element should make me say yes. The length of the role does not matter. Whatever little bit I get, I like to give it my best.

What kind of roles are you being offered?
I am getting different kinds of roles. I am getting serious as well as commercial type of cinema. In fact, I am on the verge of signing two typical masala films. I can't talk about them right now. Fortunately for me, I am getting serious as well as commercial cinema.

Coming back to Hostel, how is Manish Gupta as a director?
Manish Gupta is very passionate about his writing and his movie. He's so into his film, he can work 24 hours a day! He's so charged that the people around him can't help but get charged.

How was it working with Vatsal?
He is a very hardworking guy. He is talented and has done a great job in the film. There are beautiful action scenes that he's performed.

What are your expectations from Hostel?
I have put in my best effort. Now let's see.

Is it a mainstream movie?
There is nothing like art and mainstream, nowadays. Films are different. I really don't know what category I should put Hostel in. It's special for me. I hope it turns out to be the way we have expected it to. I've given my best and hope for the best!

Your last movie Matrubhoomi was critically acclaimed and also won a lot of awards at film festivals. How does it feel?
It's a very special film to me. Even before it was released, people started thinking of me as a serious actress. I got appreciated internationally, which is a very big thing. I got exposed to international cinema and festivals at a very early stage of my career. I got to interact with people from different countries. It gave me a lot of confidence and I've turned out to be a better person.

What was your first reaction when you were offered the film for the first time?
First I said that I just could not do it because it was too hard hitting. I thought I would not be able to handle it. But then the producer and the director insisted that I act in it because they thought I just fit the bill. They wanted to narrate the script again. The director has already won awards. So they kept on telling me that he's acclaimed, etc! I knew it was a challenge and wanted to take it up. At the same time, it was too hard hitting and I was taking it too personally. I got to know a lot about female infanticide. For my preparation, I stayed in the village a week before the shooting. I was observing the body language of the villagers. Prior to the film, I had never been to a village. I just went and looked around. Sometimes when you try to hard, you just mess things up. So I just let things be.

You said you were apprehensive to do the film. So what made you do it?
I guess the producer and director really convinced me.

Do you think it was a turning point in your career?
I don't know if it was a turning point. But personally, I gained a lot from it. I don't know what a turning point is. Today you give a good performance and hit and you're there. Tomorrow again you might give a flop and then you're out. It was a great film to be a part of. For me every film is equally important. My first film was a dream debut with the biggest banner in the country. Even that could have been a turning point. The biggest banner launched me!

You made a fantastic start in Bollywood with a Yash Raj Film, but we didn't see much of you after that. Why so?
I wasn't keeping too well. I had a slip disc, a major back problem. It was getting from bad to worse. It became so bad that I could not move out of my bed. Physically, I was very unfit. Because of that, even emotionally I wasn't myself. I was keeping away from everyone. Because of that, I lost a lot of films that could have come my way. Fortunately, I got Matrubhoomi. I was a little better by the time I got the film. One of the other reasons as to why I was reluctant to do the film in the beginning was because of my health. I'm grateful that I'm doing good films like Hostel and Shunya today. Even though Hostel is a male dominated film, my character is the one that kind of turns around the whole situation. She helps the hero sort out a lot of things. She is the backbone of his life. The role I play is very important because she influences his decisions.

How did you utilize your break while you were unwell?
Well, I was trying to get my back treated! I discovered a lot about myself. I did a lot of writing. I did script writing! I guess I was not able to do anything else! I just kept discovering who I am and what I was doing here!

That's great. So you're interested in script writing?
I don't think I would want to get into it professionally at this point. Maybe, sometime later. Right now, I am fortunate to get back into acting. I'm keen on doing more films.

So what kind of stories do you write?
One script has been completed. It's a philosophical musical. I like to get deep into things and understand them. But script writing is not something I would do if I'm taking a short half an hour break! It's something I have to get into completely. You get to know more and more about yourself, each time you write.

Are you happy with the way your career has shaped so far?
I'm happier today than what I was while I was unwell. Let's see how things go tomorrow. I don't know about the future. Today, I am more focused in my life and I know what I want. Even while I'm on the sets, I am more focused while performing.

Did you always want to become an actress?
I wanted to become a sports person. My priorities changed. I was modeling and I happened to go for a wedding. It was Yash Chopra's son's wedding. I went from the girl's side. It was a very small party. They spotted me and offered me the film. They told me to do a screen test. I said I didn't mind! I gave the screen test and got the film!

So you didn't do any formal training in acting?
No I didn't. I'm glad that acting happened to me because now I am so passionate about it. After I was selected for Meri Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, I did a theatre workshop. It is important to know about the camera and a lot of other things. Our industry does not have a special school. But we have such great actors! With time and experience, you get better.

How was your experience of working with Yash Raj Films?
You get spoilt rotten! They just know how to treat everyone. You have to be a part of it to understand. I'm very close to their family. But they are so nice to everyone. I used to hear that once you get out of their banner, you'll miss the way they are. They are very special. I hope to work with them in the future.

Apart from movies, what are your hobbies?
I love trekking and going by the seaside. I'm a compulsive traveler. I like being close to nature. I love sports. I was an athlete throughout school life. Of course, right now I am not interested in getting into heavy sports. But, I enjoy playing volleyball. I like going to the gym. When I was in school, I wanted to become a professional sports person. But at that time, there were no proper promotions for people with potential. Only tennis and cricket players are promoted. In school, I was never into dramatics. And today I am a part of movies. So these different things make me complete.

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