Renowned TV actor Tinaa Datta is known for her role in the popular daily soap Uttaran; reality shows Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi. The actress paved her way in the heart of the audience with her acting prowess in TV shows like Daayan and Shani. From being a girl next door to playing a feisty woman, the cute and bubbly Tina did it all. And now the actress is set to foray into digital space with Naxalbari.
In an exclusive conversation with IBTimes, Tinaa Datta spoke at length about her upcoming show Naxalbari, why TV actors aren't the priority for Bollywood, her views on 90 days pay scale for television actors and pay parity.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Is Naxalbari the first web series that you were offered?
Naxalbari' isn't the first web series that I have been offered. Prior to this a lot of other web shows came my way. However, I didn't opt for them because either the storyline or the production house didn't intrigue me or the platform that it was supposed to stream wasn't good enough. I have always made it clear that apart from the storyline, the streaming platform and the production house also matters to me. If you look at all my serials you must have seen that I have worked with good production houses and channels.
What made you say yes for 'Naxalbari'?
As an actor, I always wanted to do a web series. As the digital platform gives an actor to perform various roles he /she can get a larger prospect to a role. There is always a sense of creativity and versatility when it comes to web shows.
As the show is based on Naxalites, is the series based on reality or the makers have taken certain creative liberty as well?
Naxalite is an amalgamation of fiction and reality.
How did you prepare for the role?
As Naxalites are very different kind of people and have a different thought process, I spoke to the writers and read the script to know the nuances of the character that I am portraying.
During the start of your career, what were the hardships you faced?
There has been a lot of struggle and hard work at the start of my career. I have seen a lot of ups and downs in career and what I have learned during this course of time is we have to stay strong and hang in there. My Life hasn't been a bed of roses. Despite being part of hit shows on television, I still struggle and now I feel that this is a part and parcel of my life.
Are you happy the way your career is shaping up?
Yes, I am very happy, whatever decision that I have made in my life I completely stand by those and I have no regrets.
Have you succumbed to casting couch?
I haven't faced anything per se for my physical appearances never. But yes I did face casting couch and like I said one needs to stay strong and ignore. Just that I don't want to get into details now.
TV actors are often looked down upon and aren't the first choice for movies, have you faced something like this?
Oh absolutely! Television actors have always been tagged and tabooed and coined as 'TV actors'. Arey isne toh TV kiya hain, Iska face exposed hain. Nahi isko movie mein cast nahi karte (He /she is a TV actor, his face is exposed a lot on television, let's not cast him/her in a movie) these are the basic things that we get to hear. I also feel jo log movie karte hain woh bhi toh expose ho rahe hai na, in the media, in public and or in front of the audience. (Even the film actors are exposed in media, in the public and in front of the audience).
I didn't understand the meaning of his/ her face is exposed on TV. I feel we (TV ) actors are extremely hardworking, we are used to working 14 to 15 hours a day. We memorise and mouth dialogues that are one to two pages lengthy, most of the movie actors can't remember their lines. So there is no comparison.
Is pay parity still there?
Absolutely, even if you have done a hit show and then you wish to take a break for a year or so and you want to get back on screen your pay gets reduced rather than getting a hike. However famous or hit shows you have given, you have to still start from scratch. The worst part is we get our payment after 90 days, that is after three months, Imagine your kitchen is running, you have to pay your staff and everybody else. We get our pay after 90 days, and by the time our account is credited, it is almost three and a half month. When everybody gets their salary every month it is only we actors get our payment so late. It is unfair.
For the unversed, Naxalbari has an ensemble star cast that includes Rajeev Khandelwal (Raghav), Tinaa Datta (Ketki), Sreejita Dey (Prakriti), Satyadeep Mishra (Pahan), Shakti Anand (Binu Atram) and Aamir Ali (Keswani) in prominent roles. Directed by Partho Mitra and produced by GSEAMS (Arjun & Kartik). The show is slated to release later this year on ZEE5.