Tamannaah Bhatia’s last release in Tamil was Vishal-starrer Action in 2019. She returns with a web series, November Story. It’s a murder mystery centered on her character, Anuradha. She talks about how a web series is different from a film, whether she believes in numerology and her experience working with director KV Anand in Ayan.
The web series space is a lot different from what you have done before and November Story series is centered around you. So, did it feel a bit more special?
It’s definitely very different, even on a script level. This is my first shoot for a web series and the preparation itself is very different from that of a film. And as an actor you get a lot more space to explore, you get a lot more time to dwell into your character and the arc is more well-defined. And it was a lot more fun for me to perform. This show was genuinely so well-written, that’s what kept me going. As an actor you can bring whatever you want to the table, but in this medium, if the writing is not upto the mark it will not be the same.
You changed your spelling before Sekhar Kammula’s Happy Days and then your career just took off! Congrats on such a long innings as a heroine! Do you now, looking back, think that the spelling change had something to do with it, or was it a coincidence? Or do you not want to analyse it too much?
Honestly, I’ve asked this question to myself many times to make sense out of it, but I feel, in life whatever we give faith to or belief to, it’s actually the powers in our own mind. And if I think T-A-M-A-N-N-A-A-H will make me powerful, then it will make me powerful. It’s not about individuality and that a certain thing will change your life, it’s about how much of a positive influence it’s going to bring in your life. I don’t believe in giving any one thing any credit, except for my conviction of thought. Even now I experiment with small things that I manifest and it seems to work. It’s thinking towards what you really want and believing that what you want is what you will achieve.
At one point in your career, there used to be a Tamannah release every month and you were in ads as well. Was there a lot of stress? How do you handle stress usually? How do you keep yourself together?
I actually thrive on that, I am a workaholic, there’s no doubt about that. I always enjoy working and thankfully I am part of an industry that I enjoy being in, so I don’t feel like exploring something else apart from this. I am extremely happy exploring characters, reading different scripts, doing different work and now I focus more on doing characters that are empowering. I think it is reflected in the kind of work that I do. November Story helped me channelize that, and I was looking for content that would let me explore this side of myself.
When KV Anand passed away recently, you had a post saying that you remember him as a really nice man, he gave you your most memorable film in Tamil, which is Ayan, opposite Suriya. How was that experience memorable for you?
To be honest, I am still in disbelief that he’s no more. Whenever I open my Instagram page and look at his photograph, I don’t completely understand what I am looking at. I am still reeling with the fact that he is not here with us anymore. I had a very brief interaction with him, but he was one of the few directors, who tapped me just when I was starting out. He saw potential in me, and his style of working, the way he was on set was like a text book for me and I carried that with me. So, his influence in my career was very pivotal, and I hardly spoke to him after that. But that experience, especially since it took place in my formative years, those memories are very vivid for me. And it gives us a reality check that in the pursuit of all our greatness that we have, we are pretty fragile.
You had a brush with Covid and you came through it safely! Has the overall situation and your brush with it, changed your philosophies from within?
The first wave was nothing compared to what we are seeing today. My case was severe, I was hospitalised, which was rare with people my age. From working out the previous day to being in the hospital the next, it happened all too fast in my case. When I had symptoms I didn’t wait to react to it, but some people take it very lightly and such an attitude towards the disease scares me. This time around, it’s actually wiping out families which is bizarre and it’s worse than being stuck in a bad film or a bad dream. With the resources being limited and the situation being a lot severe now, if you have the privilege and if you are safe and sound at home, staying that way is the least one can do.