Posted by barkha on July 15, 2013 | No Comments

She made her film debut in allegedly one of the finest films that never got released, PAANCH, something that would have had a profound impact on anyone starting out in a promising project. But there is a saying that “what is in your control is your preparation.” The preparation came to the forefront in the recently concluded CANNES 2013, where her film, UGLY, in which Tejaswani gave a remarkable performance, made people sit up and notice. Here we talk to Tejaswani Kolhapure Saraswat and find out that there is a lot more to her, than a fine actor:

How did UGLY come about?

I have known Anurag Kashyap for a while,  ever since we did PAANCH. Finally in April of 2011, around the time of Cannes, then , he announced that we was ready to do a film with me, what was supposed to start in September 2011, actually started sometime in August 2012 and then of course the highlight of that film has been, the acceptance into Cannes in 2013 and the opportunity to attend the screening there.

The fact that UGLY is a deglamorized role, did that bother you?

Not really, maybe it would have bothered me when I was starting out, given that I had the film family influence on me. But actually it added a sense of realism to the character I played and even in the scenes where I play a younger character, as in going back in time, rather than wear a wig, I decided to go with shorter hair, so what is really important is the character sketch, you don’t want to look glamorous when a serious event has occurred in the screen life of the character, you are enacting, it almost takes away from the performance.

Any bitterness and anger on PAANCH not releasing?

Of course, I will be lying if I said, it did not bother me. I was young, hopeful, had put a lot of effort into that project, as had everyone else and to see it not being released was frustrating. I continued working like doing modeling, television, editing a magazine, living my life kept me in going and then the sudden passing away of my mother, really put things in perspective. But post that and to UGLY, I do get disappointed when people say it is your comeback or second innings, it was by choice and I till date  seek out work that excites me, as opposed to work that is done to merely go through the motion.

On the pre acting days?

Although I did come from a film background, it was not as if I rushed into acting. In fact, like my mother, I have worked in the airline industry, I worked with Jet Airways for a while. Matter of fact it was during one of the training programs where we were doing role playing, as in enacting interactions between customers and crew, that the observation was made that I could really enact things convincingly. Also during that time I had learned a little more about myself, in that I was better off working for myself, where I would make the decisions, as opposed to working under somebody.  So I joined theater, starting from scratch under the watchful eye of Satyadev Dubey.  All this too, while I was doing my ramp shows and modeling. All of this only helped me as an actor.

On Fashion and Television?

It was Gautam Rajadhaksha, who said that I should be either in modeling or acting. Modeling was initially my calling and I did campaigns like VIMAL. Then did some good work with Zee television, including a couple of the RISHTEY episodes, which is also something that Anurag has done, as have a whole lot of others.  Then after a while television seemed too mundane. I was also the editor of a fashion magazine for a while. I do enjoy writing and it is something I might do more of, in the future.

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