Spirited In The Arts: Tisca Chopra
An uplifting combination of performer, author and social activist, Tisca Chopra radiates uninhibited positivity. Known for unconventional roles in films like Taare Zameen Par and Firaaq, plays like Dinner With Friends and many television series from Karishma Ka Karishma to the action-packed 24: India, she looks for parts in which she feels she has a story to tell and by way of which she can connect through her creative passion. “Art binds,” she believes. “Art is never about separation; it humanises us, transcends differences and brings commonalities to the fore.”
As an only child growing up in Afghanistan, she used to let her imagination run wild whenever her parents, who were a part of the diplomatic community there, stepped out. “We had wonderful, glossy fairy-tale books with really fantastic illustrations, which I think fired my artistic spirit. Also, living in the mountains of Kabul, where you wake up one morning to four feet of snow outside your window, helped motivate my love for the world of make-belief.”
She believes that her family would’ve encouraged her had they known that there was even a possibility of a career in acting. What really kicked it all off, however, was the fact that the domestic help at home were big fans of Hindi cinema. “I would get up on the table and perform for them — telling stories, singing, dancing…the works.”
Whether in her work or her personal style, individuality appeals to her. “I’ve always been more partial to artisanal pieces, when it comes to shopping around the world. I like products which have history, which incorporate craftsmanship; I love handmade things.” Her home, I learn, is full of quirk. “I need juxtaposition and a bit of humour; contrast is so necessary in my world. Also, there has to be more than what meets the eye.”
This is mirrored in the outlook she has developed through her years in the industry. Being an actor, she tells me, has taught her to reveal, while being famous has taught her to hide. “Being able to stay in a space where one is vulnerable, open, innocent and childlike is something that I nurture. I do get hurt often, but it’s with the full awareness that that’s what makes me a half-decent actor.” Every few years, the artiste has a “reinvention of sorts”, one that she is even now currently in the middle of. Despite a barrage of interesting new acting roles under her belt, Chopra is eager to explore new avenues. Having worked as a performer for a great number of years and “fulfilled other people’s visions”, she’s proud to have conquered the ability to use something as ephemeral as one’s imagination as a creative tool and is now excited about developing a few film projects and theatre productions as a producer.
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