Designers now rely on local talent: Tulika Banerjee | Web series

Best known for her role as the wife of Bobby Deol in Ashram and a judge Madam Prime MinisterLucknow-born actor Tulika Banerjee believes there is no age or place to start a career.

Five years ago, she started working in films at the age of 35 and since then she has directed several films, web series, short films and TV commercials.

“I never dreamed of Bombay. On the contrary, as a child I didn’t even think I could become an actor since I developed vitiligo which luckily was cured. But what about you destiny comes your way. In 2016, I got a job with UP Power Corporation Ltd, but I started my acting career which, by the grace of God, has now started to take shape,” says Banerjee.

Except for one project, all my projects were shot in Uttar Pradesh only. “The only filming I’ve done outside of UP is Ashram Chapter-3 which was shot in Jaipur and Bhopal. I’m crossing my fingers for that because now the character has formed very well and I will play an important role in the series, “said the actor.

She feels with films shot in real places; better avenues have opened up locally. “Now there are a lot of opportunities in smaller towns and local artists are also finding work. The only problem is that the main characters are usually cast in Mumbai for smaller roles given to local artists. But some creators like Prakashji (Jha) trust local talent and offer them meatier roles as well,” says Banerjee.

The actor remembers having started with the cinema Mr Kabadi starring Om Puri and Annu Kapoor where she played a lead role. “It was followed by Family of Thakhurganj but mass recognition came with episodes of TV shows, Criminal Patrol. My role as public prosecutor in Graham and judge in Madam Prime Minister gave me more work. I am also looking forward to the Indo-Austrian film Mehrunissa where I play the daughter of late actor Farrukh Jaffar. The film is touring at festivals and has been well received,” she says.

The shorts also took her to places. “Our cinema Sun, directed by Diwakar Bhattacharya, where I starred alongside Shreedhar Dubey won a prestigious award. Since then I have done a lot of short films and my recent one is Second rundirected by Devesh Bora with Brijendra Kala.

She will then be seen in Jamtara2, Kalamanch, Ittu Se Baat, Prayagraj, Chote Nawab and Shoe box.

A former student of Christ Church College and the University of Lucknow, she is Visharad in sitar from Bhatkhande University of Music and Prabhakar in kathak from Pragyag Sangeet Samiti. “Also, I have been a Radio Jockey since 2001 which gave me a lot of exposure. I was also a program presenter at Lucknow Doordarshan,” she says. Her husband also works in the same department and they have two daughters 17 and 11 years old.

Alfonso E. Cramer