Unlike many of her contemporaries, actress Tena Desae got a taste of Hollywood very early in her career with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel directed by John Madden. Now, she is all set to work for her first mainstream masala film in Bollywood with Table 21. Having straddled both the worlds, she shares her insights about the difference in both the industries.
Talking about the dissimilarities, she shares that Hollywood is slower and more methodical than its Bollywood counterpart. This according to her has its own sets of perks and disadvantages.
“There were a lot of stages before we actually began shooting for Marigold. There were three reading rounds wherein the script writer took the inputs from the actors. Thus, we were able to bring our individuality to the character,” she says and adds, “Then there were rehearsals and choreography of the scene after which the lighting was done. Only after we all got comfortable, did the cameras start rolling.” Sharing her takeaway from the process, Tena says, “With such thorough preparation, the actor gets totally immersed in the creative process and it became easy to go with the flow of every scene.”
In contrast, she shares that apart from intonation and difference in body language with western actors, Bollywood has a unique way of functioning that is fresh in its appeal. “Here you have to crack it as soon as possible. There were melodramatic scenes in Table 21, so we had to preserve our vocal chords and energies for the final take,” she says and adds that this leaves space for spontaneity as you can give it all for that one final take.
Tena would in future like to work in both the industries. Speaking about Hollywood becoming more open for Indian actors, she shares, “I feel I am very lucky as the West has progressively become open to ethnic casting as cinema is a mirror to the changing realities of the world, wherein Indians are becoming more mobile and prominent in international circuits.” Giving a hint about the offers from the West, Tena says, “I have been told if I master the American accent, I can pass off as a Latin American or girl from the Middle-East.”
Also, speaking about her Bollywood prospects, she says that she would love doing challenging roles and how she hates being typecasted.
"I remember when I started doing ads, people labelled me as the cute-girl next door. Then when I modeled for a calender, people called me hot. I am all that and more and my mind rebels at all such labels. In future I would like to experiment with all kinds of films right from action to romantic, comedy to fantasy. I want it all."