The dark yet lyrical world that director Anup Singh created in ‘Qissa’ attracted Tillotama Shome to come onboard for the critically acclaimed Punjabi film, set in the post-Partition era.
As someone who has built a career out of playing unique and memorable characters be it in ‘Monsoon Wedding’, ‘Shanghai’ or ‘Children of War’, Shome says she was fascinated by the story of a father (Umber Singh), played brilliantly by Irrfan, who raises his daughter as the son.
“Anup’s affirmation of the tender while telling a rather brutal tale, drew me in. Kanwar (her character) was a creature I had not met before and I was drawn in, madly in love and terrified of heartbreak. The father’s world was so dark that it invited a palpable attraction,” Shome told PTI in an interview.
The actress has come in for a lot of praise for her delicate portrayal of a girl trying to be the best son to her father while privately struggling with a terrible identity crisis. The film, which released on February 20 in theatres, is also available online on NFDC’s cinemasofIndia website.
Shome says whatever reservation she had were blown away by beautifully etched world that included Tisca Chopra’s character of mother Meher or Kanwar’s wife Neeli, played by Rasika Dugal.
The ‘Monsoon Wedding’ actress says her director did not want her to use the crutch of prosthetics or make-up to play the role of a man in the story.
“Anup warned me from trying hard to be manly, instead he encouraged me to just be the best son I could be to my father. He did not want prosthetics to the rescue... So he guided me to explore the interior life of Kanwar, an entity that struggles to navigate between his public face and her private face,” she says.