After her magical performance in the widely acclaimed “Qissa”, Geneva-based director Anup Singh was yearning to cast the immensely talented Tillotama Shome in his next project “The Song Of Scorpions”. It was then that actor Irrfan Khan’s wife Sutapa Sikdar suggested to the director to cast Tillotama for a role only she could bring a “bewitching allure” to.
“The Song Of Scorpions”, which will be shot in Rajasthan later this year, stars Irrfan — who worked in Singh’s “Qissa” too — and Iranian beauty Golshifteh Farahani in key roles.
“I was very unhappy when I could not find any role for the three extraordinary actresses (Tisca Chopra, Tillotama and Rasika Dugal) who were in my ‘Qissa’. I even tried to rewrite the script to somehow bring them into the film, but the film was adamant about going its own way. Finally, I gave up,” Singh said while recounting the process of finally finding a role for the “Monsoon Wedding” actress.
“Quite recently, travelling in Mumbai with Sutapa Sikdar, Irrfan Khan’s wife, I was speaking with her about my tremendous desire to find some role for Tillotama. After she appeared almost magically, like a genie, for an audition of ‘Qissa’, I’ve considered her as a kind of talisman for me, something of an occult force that allows us to achieve the near-impossible.
“She brought an integrity, a tender gravity and plausibility to an exceptionally difficult role and helped open our imaginations with her acclaimed performance in ‘Qissa’. I kept telling Sutapa that I had tried everything to find her a role in my new film, ‘The Song of Scorpions’, but I felt there was nothing worthy of her… Suddenly, Sutapa turned to me and mentioned one particular character in the script,” Singh added.
While not giving much about the film or the character that Tillotama has been cast for, the director describes it as a “character of raw beauty, with a savage impudence and sense of humour, whose wild force is a match for the force of any of the male characters in the film”.
“I could see immediately what bewitching allure Tillotama would bring the role and excitedly called her. I explained that the role was really small, but before I could say more, she said, ‘Of course I’ll do it! You want me to stand in the crowd? I’ll do it!’ And that was that! I feel a new excitement now as we move into the final stages of the preparation for the film,” Singh shared.
The film’s shooting begins in December.
At her end, Tillotama is “thrilled to be on Anup Singh’s set again”.
“I consider it a huge gift. That greats like Irrfan and Golshifteh are helming this film, makes it not just exciting but reassures me that I will be in a film sparkling with wonderful human beings who also happen to be insanely gifted,” Tillotama said.