Meet Tanima Bhattacharya, a girl from a non-filmy background. Her initial aspirations were to join the armed forces. She then decided to complete Bachelors of Commerce from Kolkata. It is destiny that has brought her into Bollywood.
Tanima makes her Bollywood debut with the upcoming film Saankal which releases early next year.
Saankal is about an age old custom which is still prevalent in interiors of Rajasthan, near the Pak border, there are several ‘Kabilas’ (communities). This Kabila has a custom that that girl from that community marries within that community itself, and nowhere else. This leads to a gender imbalance in that community where the females are more in number than the males.
Tanima Bhattacharya plays the central character of the film who is forced to marry a 10 year old boy Kesar.
Things take a dramatic turn when it is found out that Kabeera becomes pregnant within 2 years of her marriage. Abeera delivers a baby girl, but is tired of the apathy of her near ones towards her. She ends up committing suicide.
One day, this young boy sees that his father is physically close to his wife Abeera. He also notices that she is not at fault, but it is his father who is in the wrong. Kesar then revolts against his father, but things are more complicated when it is found out that the father is now obsessed with his own daughter-in-law.
The young boy realizes that ‘his wife’ Abeera is exploited and this brings him emotionally close to her and then he falls in love with his wife, partly, it could be because of his apathy towards her.
Tanima Bhattacharya won the Best Lead Actress award at 20th International Indie Gathering Film Festival (U.S.A.).
Tanima Bhattacharya speaks to FILMY TOWN about this age-old custom:
What is Saankal about?
Saankal means ‘Shackle’ or simply put – a chain. In this drama it refers to being chained to social customs. The film is about love and sacrifice.
What is your role in the film?
I play the protagonist in this woman oriented film, which is based on true incidents. I play Abeera, who is exploited by the men who take advantage of the social custom which is prevalent since ages.
Yours beginnings in Bollywood. How was your journey?
Right from the beginning I was involved with the pre-production of the film as an executive producer. When the director was looking for a female lead for his film, he suggested I too take the audition, and he was impressed with my on screen appearance for the particular character.
How was it preparing for the character of Abeera?
It was really tough. We went to that place in Jaisalmer, spent a lot of time there, studies the persona of the women there, their mannerisms, peculiarities and disposition. I had to struggle to get the right diction of the locals there. I was so immersed in the character, that after completing the shooting, it took me days to come across as the real myself.
What impact did the character of Abeera have on you?
I broke down literally when we came across a lady who was a victim of this custom, which I confess to Filmy Town.
I can now feel the difficulties of the victim. They are helpless, yet the most I can do towards this cause is to play that character and I wish that this film opens up the eyes of the society to tackle this issue with a rationale mind.
It is said that there are some “bold” scenes in the film.
Yes there are some bold scenes, not exactly exposed scenes. But this was required as a part of the script, to bring forth the expolitation of Abeera, and many unfortunate Abeeras who are going through this pain of their life.
Is there a message in your film?
After 68 years of independence, and with such rapid modernisation in our country, there are still such age old customs prevalent in the interiors.
Where is our freedom? Where is our so called modern world, with modern values and thinking?