K Tanzeel Zaman sits in a tête-à-tête with Nusrat Imrose Tisha and gets to hear about the journey of an illustrious actor and her take on the future of the industry

Two decades, two national awards, and hundreds of accolades strong, Tisha is enjoying the heyday of her career. The remarkable actress who won the hearts of millions with her exceptional performances both on television and the silver screen has made news time and again and of course for all good reasons. A couple of weeks ago, on their 10th Anniversary of marriage, as she shared a picture of her with her husband and famous director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, the internet showered thousands of accolades and best wishes. This shows how immensely beloved this actress is. So what better occasion would be other than ICE Today’s 18th Anniversary issue to talk with this phenomenally popular actress. Excerpts are as follows:

How has the pandemic been treating you?

While positivity has always been the mantra of my living, the pandemic, however, gave me both negative and positive experiences. Not being able to work and move freely like before and most importantly, not being able to help out the people in need as much as I would-these are the downsides of the pandemic. The people who are struggling to survive this epidemic has affected me a lot.

How did you maintain positivity during the lockdown?

Getting to spend as much time as you want with your family seemed to be a blessing in disguise. My mother has been the happiest because my busy schedule always kept me away and the lockdown gave us plenty of time to chill together. In a similar way, for the first time in my 11 years of conjugal life, I felt like I have finally spent proper time off with my family and myself. I have literally been working from the very next day of my marriage ceremony. And then, the lockdown allowed me to be a proper housewife. My house is now a small botanical garden, and I discovered that I have a niche for arts and crafts. I am pretty sure I can open a small boutique if my acting career takes a back seat.

You have an illustrious career of two decades, played close to countless roles. Were there any characters that stayed with you?

It is tough to pick the top three characters I have played. They are all very close to me. each of those characters and I went on a unique journey. It even took me some time to get out of those characters. Hence it is close to impossible for me to pick favorites.

You’ve been a spokesperson for women empowerment for quite some time. What is your comment on women being underplayed and getting secondary roles?

I can say that things are changing for the better. Women are playing more diverse roles.  three years ago, people in the industry claimed that the female-centric stories wouldn’t run within the market. However, that notion has been proven wrong. More females replaying lead roles in strong, captivating stories. When I played strong characters, such as a single mother without a husband, I faced a lot of criticism. But now, women are being supported by their families; they believe in themselves now more than ever. They are in the leading position in various large corporations and multiple sectors. These changes have triggered a domino effect for a better future.

Are you a method actor? What is your process of researching a role and getting into a character?

Exploring through various characters over the years, I perfected my craft and came to understand myself better. Through that period, I figured out that my element is of a natural actor. That being said, preparing for a role in a series and a movie are very different. For a  series, my mantra of getting into a character is, me being a director’s artist. I discuss my character with my director and the writer. At the end of the day, they are the people who created the role for me. When it comes to a movie, I take my time to prepare for that role in plain words, spending time with them. Understanding how a character laughs, eats, walks, or even what they dream about is very crucial. You can’t make brick without clay.

Last year, you received the National Film Award for the second time. Did you feel any different getting it for the second time?

I can’t really explain how it feels. It always makes me feel good, and it is still different.  Thanks to the love and support of the people, I received many accolades in my career. It reminds me of how much my craft and I are appreciated. It gives me a sense of responsibility for doing good work and a platform to represent Bangladesh on an international stage.

In your own words, what is the future of the industry you’re in?

The future holds a wide range of prospects for us. New shows are being produced on different platforms. Along with TV, streaming platforms are gaining momentum. Such platforms are giving opportunities to stories which might not have seen the light of a day at conventional media—thus creating new jobs for professionals and new actors. There are good, bad, and horrible stories out there but the bigger picture is that the market is getting bigger. We need to focus on that. In my opinion, we need to utilise this market properly, and I hope that we don’t spoil it in the process.

What is your comment on Over-the-top media services or OTT? Many web series are pulling off explicit scenes to make their show viral, how important are explicit scenes when it comes to OTT?

It brought in some fresh perspective into the industry. The entire world has accepted  OTT because of its accessibility, and whether we like it or not, OTT is the future. That being said, it doesn’t mean we should show or portray whatever we want just for the sake of views and numbers. For example, the Delhi Crime on Netflix is a gritty crime show. Its story is about a rape incident, and the show delivered a phenomenal performance without having to show any explicit scene. There are many ways you can tell a story. Sex is essential, yes, but only when the plot requires it.

Being a celebrity puts you under the microscope by the people, resulting in facing is distasteful remarks. How do you handle such remarks in your personal life?

In all honesty, I don’t respond to it. I recently posted a picture of my husband and me over the occasion of our 10th marriage anniversary. I received a lot of positive messages and love from many of my followers. In a perfect world that would be the end of it but,  some people were very concerned about my decision regarding my personal life. I didn’t respond to any of the comments because there were many friends and followers of mine who spoke for me. They established the fact that whatever decision I take in my personal life will stay personal to my close ones and me. I am very blessed to have people who will stand up for me and love me. I always keep my focus on this positive aspect of my life. It keeps me recharged.

How do you deal with failure?

I accept my failures and learn to do better in the future by not repeating my mistakes.  Keeping my eyes on the positive side is my secret. I always tell myself that I can’t stay hung up on things that didn’t work out for me. If I do so, it will only ruin more opportunities for me in the future.

What’s next for you?

I am more of a go with the flow kind of person. I do not make plans for the future.  because life is full of uncertainties and I always try to live in the moment.

Anything you want to add before we wrap up?

Staying positive has been my secret of conquering many storms in my life. All the readers  out there, should know that life is not about sunshine and butterflies. It is your mindset  which will make the sun shine and make the butterflies float. Let’s all stay positive despite adversities life throws at us. Because we only live once.

Wardrobe & Jewellery: MUKTA
Makeup & Hair: AURA BeautyLounge
Photography: Eivan Sardar