Tara Sutaria was still busy shooting for her debut film Student of the Year 2 (2019) when she received a call from the makers of Marjaavaan. She rushed to their office the very same evening, got the narration and bagged her second Bollywood film even before the release of her maiden film. While SOTY 2 featured her as a fun, spirited young girl, Marjaavaan has her in the role of a demure, mute girl.
A few days before the release of the movie, Eastern Eye caught up with Tara Sutaria in Mumbai and asked her what led her to do Marjaavaan, the roles she wants to pursue in her career hereon, the average performance of her debut film, her forthcoming projects and much more. Excerpts…
You had signed Marjaavaan even before the release of your debut film Student of the Year 2. What attracted you so much?
I was shooting for Student of the Year 2 when I got Marjaavaan. I remember I got a call from their office. After wrapping up that day’s shoot, I ran to their office where Milap Zaveri narrated the story to me twice. I am not an emotional kind of person but I remember I started crying after Milap was done narrating it to me. It was beautifully written. I realised my character was of a mute girl so she could not speak. I thought I would have to learn sign language to play the part. That was something which prompted me to immediately sign the film. Moreover, after Student of the Year 2, I wanted to do something different and I thought Marjaavaan was the perfect film for that.
How was it playing a mute girl in Marjaavaan right after playing a fun, spirited girl in SOTY 2?
Both the films are very different from each other, there is no comparison between them. And I think that is the fun part of being an actor that you have to jump from a fun, college girl to a Zoya in Marjaavaan who comes from Kashmir and does not speak. She communicates through sign language. So, I think there was everything just different about this film.
How did you prepare for the role? Did you hire any coach to learn the sign language? As I told you that I was shooting for SOTY 2 when I got Marjaavaan. It was a long schedule, so every evening after coming home from the shoot of SOTY 2, I would practise the sign language. I had a sign language coach; her name is Sangeeta. She trained actors for Barfi (2012) as well. She used to come my home and we had 4 months of training before we started shooting for Marjaavaan.
You are a trained singer as well as a dancer. Are you getting opportunities to use your talent in films? I was actually meant to sing in Marjaavaan but since my character is mute, it did not make any sense. I definitely want to release a single album by next year. For dancing there has to be a good dance film coming my way because I really want to dance in a film.
How was it to work with Sidharth Malhotra, Riteish Deshmukh and Rakul Preet Singh? Everyone is so intense in their roles in the film. Shooting with them was fun. Everyone had their fun stories, so it was really fun. That is how a film set should be, otherwise it can be boring but it was super fun. We all got to know each other during shoot, and as Milap likes to talk much it was really good.
As a filmmaker, Milap Zaveri prefers a hardcore commercial zone for his films. How much do you identify with that space? I did not identify with the zone as much as I probably should because I did not grow up watching such films. I know Sidharth has. But at the same time, it was fascinating to be a part of something you don’t know. That is the bonus of being in this profession as this is just my 2nd film and I get to do something diametrically opposite from the first film.
Your name is Tara which means ‘a star’ and you are in movies. Is it a co-incident? My parents still argue about this. My mom hates this name. She had named me something totally different. I have a twin sister. My mother had named us, but then my dad secretly changed my name to Tara.
What kinds of role you want to pursue hereon? In my next film, I am playing a role which is totally different from Zoya. It is something that I feel a lot of actors would not choose to do. It is a remake of a South Indian film (RX100), so it is very much similar to that. But it is a little different with lots of twists. So, I think, in every film, I am doing different things and I really want to start singing from next year in my films.
Your debut film Student of the Year2 received mixed response from critics as well as the audience. Do you think Marjaavaan will make up for that?
It is a different world, so I do not know whether it will satisfy the hunger of that particular audience. I really hope that Marjaavaan clicks and connects with the audience and I think somewhere it has already because the music is so powerful and it worked. I hope it works because of an unusual love story and most of our films are love stories. Yes, it is massy, yes, it is commercial, but it is a very unusual love story.
What went wrong with Student of the Year 2? Over expectations or what? I don’t know what went wrong. I don’t even think anything went wrong. I don’t know over expectations or what, but I knew that there was a hype because of Student of the Year (2012), and even I fall into that category because I was a huge fan of the 1st film. There had been a constructive criticism on the film and, of course, we are all open for that, but I don’t know what went wrong or maybe I am too new to understand all this.
Do you have any plan of doing movies outside Bollywood like down South or somewhere else? Actually, I was offered some lovely stories from South cinema but I had no time because this entire year I have been busy with these 2 films. But, of course, I don’t think any industry is different from another, so I am open for all.
If given a chance to star in the remake of a Bollywood classic film, which one would it be for you? You know, the first Hindi film I watched was Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and I just could not get over from the beauty of the film and its music, the style and everything about it. I have a great connection with music and dance so, of course, Anarkali’s character I would like to play in its remake.