For many Indian actors, landing a role in a foreign production is a dream. But the Bengaluru-born actor Tina Desai achieved this feat early on in her career. Tina, a graduate in Business Management, made her debut with Yeh Faasley and, though the movie flopped, she has no regrets. She says, “It was a fantastic role…but in terms of opportunity and recognition, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was my quintessential big break.”
It couldn’t have been better — Tina played Dev Patel’s love interest in the movie that starred acclaimed talents like Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith. The film’s sequel, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel that hit US screens in March, also starred Richard Gere. “The senior actors are a delight to work with because they are disciplined, passionate and tireless. Off the sets, they’re entertaining, intelligent, funny and full of love. It was a fantastic experience,” reminisces Tina. She has a great year to look forward to — a Netflix series, Sense8 (produced by the creators of The Matrix trilogy) where she plays a significant character, and a Hindi thriller, Dusshera, are up for release.
Tina has an impressive Bollywood wish-list, too — directors Dibakar Banerjee, Rensil D’Silva, Imtiaz Ali and Vikramaditya Motwane and actors Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Hrithik Roshan and Aamir Khan are those she’d love to share screen credits with. “I like the maturity, ease and realism of their work,” she explains.
On acting, Tina says, “There isn’t a routine to your life — it requires you to fully understand yourself…and the criticism and public scrutiny makes you extremely strong and confident.”
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