Actress Tuhina Das grew up in Kanthi in a middle-class family. “I was fortunate to have a very close-knit family and loving parents. I was never studious but I was never a back-bencher of sorts. I made sure I studied just about enough to get good grades. My mother was the one who was a movie buff. And like any child growing up in the 1990s, cinema was a big influence in our adulthood taking shape. The effect was there in our mannerisms to our aesthetic sense of every kind,” smiles Tuhina. A candid chat…
The last couple of years have gone well for you. You have worked with quite a few important directors. To what would you attribute this success to? Was it a combination of hard work, dedication and luck?
Success is always built on a foundation of perseverance. I knew that from the day I decided to come to the metropolis. The rest rightly can be attributed to a combination of a lot of people’s confidence in my abilities and, of course, the one thing that drives me, to learn and get better.
What were your career ambitions when you had got into acting first?
I still have the same basic ambition. To be recognised for my craft and not be just another pretty face. That for me shall never evolve into anything more superficial.
When and how did you realise that you want to take up acting as a career?
Here I must thank my parents for not batting an eyelid and taking my word for it and letting me move to a big city. Acting was never on the horizon for me. But I knew I wanted to carve out a career that was not possible if one stayed back there. In fact, in my early days in the city I tried my luck as a designer! Acting was almost something that shaped up as a choice almost organically.
How did acting workshops help?
Immensely. I have had the fortune of partaking in several such workshops. And in retrospect, all of them added to where I stand in this journey.
How do you look at your career graph now? With a lot of fondness, pride?
Pride is something I have always been very wary of. If anything, I look at my career thus far with as much gratitude as I could garner. I am grateful for this journey and hopefully shall strive to be so always.
Jisshu Sengupta and Tuhina in Aparna Sen’s Ghare Baire Aaj
Was Aparna Sen’s film Ghare Baire Aaj a turning point in your career?
Of course, Ghare Baire Aaj was a dream come true for me. To get to play Bimala, that too for someone like Aparna Sen, is something I know many actors don’t have the fortune of. The film will always have a special place in my heart.
What are your memories from working with Aparna Sen?
I remember being terrified initially but once Rinadi took me under her wings, the experience enriched. I must also mention Sohag Sen who worked with me extensively during the film and is someone I look up to always.
Playing detective Damayanti in the Hoichoi web shows Damayanti and Nokol Heere must have been really special. What were your observations on the character and how did you work on it?
Damayanti for me was another turning point in my career. From the moment I was offered the role, the process was an enlightening one. I worked closely with the makers, who were very thorough in detailing out the character. I remember watching a lot of sleuth shows from across the world. In fact, I learnt from Unbelievable on Netflix. Once we started shooting it, I slowly started to put my stamp on the character. The shoot was very challenging but we had a lovely time. And the way the audience lapped it up goes to show how all our collective efforts worked. Playing Damayanti will remain close to my heart for reasons beyond words.
Tuhina in Brown, streaming on ALTBalaji
What made you say yes to the film Brown, now streaming on ALTBalaji?
It was a no-brainer for me. I had worked with Rohan Ghose, the writer-director, on Damayanti as well. I really admire his directorial vision and we share a wonderful work relationship. And when I heard the nuanced nature of the story, I had to say yes.
Who do you play in the film?
I play Mithila, the primary character in a story where certain inadequacies in her husband lead to some very disturbing consequences for their marriage. The story is about how a woman strives to save her marriage.
How did you prepare yourself for this one?
We read the script extensively and the cast had a long conversation with the maker. So we were well-versed about the mindscape of the characters before we went on the floors.
How was it like saying your lines in Hindi?
It was a lot of fun and I must say not as difficult as I had imagined. I realised while shooting how language can often be overcome with a positive mindset.
Do you set goals for yourself?
Yes I do, small ones. One at a time. To reach the ultimate goal I have always aimed at.
If you had to change one thing about the way the industry functions, what would it be?
I feel in our industry we don’t value our creative people enough. Be it actors or writers or any other technician. We are in the age where content is slowly but surely being crowned as the king. We have a long way to go but I am sure when creative people are valued correctly, the industry will make huge strides in that direction.
What kind of movies/shows would you like to do next?
I am open to any character and content that grabs my attention. I never set boundaries on myself as an actor. But if you really push me I would love to play something like what Uma Thurman played in Kill Bill (laughs)!
In the last few years, what were your primary challenges that you had to face and overcome?
Living in a city and fending for yourself is always a challenge I had accepted. Though I must confess, the pandemic situation and the lockdown last year made it especially difficult for me. But with a constant support system of friends and well-wishers, I must say I am doing quite well for myself.