"When you come from a successful film family, it’s different," says actress Isha Talwar about her journey in Bollywood
She played the lead role opposite Ayushmann Khurrana in Article 15. However, despite the limited scope assigned to her character, Isha Talwar did make her presence felt in a film that was dominated by male characters. “It wasn’t a big role, but I was perfectly okay with it because it was an integral part of the film. It showed the softer side of a police officer,” says the actress.
The redemption for her were the songs in the film, particularly Naina Yeh, a track that’s reminiscent of romantic songs from the ’90s. The song shows Isha and Ayushmann romancing amidst wheat fields. Talking about her co-actor, she reveals, “What’s most endearing about Ayushmann is that he has the warmth of a Punjabi and is approachable. Unlike people who put on a show, he is real and is not pretentious. He listens to Punjabi songs and tunes, and has no qualms talking about his struggling days.”
However, with Article 15, the talented actress seems to have had a late start in Bollywood. A Mumbai girl who debuted with a bang in the Malayalam film Thattathin Marayathu opposite Nivin Pauly, Isha established herself in the South film industry before heading back to her hometown. In fact, for an artiste who didn’t know the language, she made a mark in Malayalam cinema with films like I Love Me and Bangalore Days. “Thattathin Marayathu was like my visiting card. People in the South film industries knew me because of my debut film. I loved working in Malayalam films, however, it wasn’t the same with Telugu and Tamil films, it was quite stressful,” she says candidly, adding, “But what I learnt and like about working in the South is the discipline with which films are made.
Everything is planned backwards from the release date, so nobody wastes time. Hindi film shoots can go on forever.” Although Isha’s father is a filmmaker — Vinod Talwar — who used to make small budget horror films during the ’80s-’90s, the actress shares that she has not used this connection to bag films. “My dad’s been struggling for four decades now. When you come from a successful film family, it’s different. Otherwise you go through the same struggle as an outsider,” she reveals.
It was only with Kaalakaandi, that Isha came into prominence in Bollywood. She was cast opposite Saif Ali Khan, and her underwater kiss with him is what catapulted her into the limelight. Once again, this wasn’t a fullfledged role. “It was difficult to refuse a role opposite Saif Ali Khan. Likewise, I agreed to do Tubelight because it was with Salman Khan. Both are Bollywood A-listers, so I agreed to act in both films, although my screen time was limited. I always wanted to keep working as I strongly believe work leads to more work,” she says.
With Article 15 still running in theatres, Isha has certainly registered her role in the mind of audience. Her next two Hindi films too seem promising. Isha will be seen opposite Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Rome Rome Mein that’s directed by Tannishtha Chatterjee. “My other film is Kaamyaab, a Drishyam Productions film. It’s the story about a junior artiste who has worked in 499 films and is looking forward to working in his 500th film. I play a struggling actress,” she says.
Does this mean that Isha has bid adieu to the South, and she is quick to add, “I have been offered only guest appearances in Malayalam films of late. I want to bag a full-fledged role in a film so I am working on learning Malayalam better. I just need to be more proactive and reach out to people, but I haven’t given up,” says the actor who loves the outdoors and is planning to trek in the ghats of Maharashtra this monsoon.