INDIA: Writer-Actor-Producer Taranjit Kaur, born in Lucknow and raised in Chandigarh, started her acting career in 2012 with a short film called ‘Raju’. Next, she appeared in the critically acclaimed film, ‘Ankhon Dekhi‘. Subsequently, she appeared in ‘Airlift’. Taranjit made her English film debut by playing the role of a coal miner in the British film ‘Mouth of Hell’. She also actively recites poetry. Recently her short film ‘Love Sex Soprano’ got selected for the Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF)—Canada’s premier South Asian film festival. Kaur has acted in the short and has also written and produced it. It’s directed by Sreemoyee Bhattacharya. Prashant Dandekar has served as the director of photography.
In an exclusive interview with Transcontinental Times, Kaur talks about ‘Love Sex Soprano’, her multifaceted talents, impacts of COVID-19 on the world of entertainment, here influences and inspirations as well as her upcoming projects.
Q1. Tell us about Love Sex Soprano, its title’s relevance, themes, and your association with the project.
Taranjit Kaur: I wrote Love Sex Soprano as a poem to begin with. I had written a series of poems, most of them revolved around violence against women. And we decided to produce the first one and make it into a film.
As the title suggests Love Sex Soprano is about the journey of a woman at three different stages in her life which begins with having a romantic view of love, transcends to a violent relationship and progresses to Soprano, a state of self love and self actualization.
Q2. You have not just acted in the film but you are also the writer and the producer. Please elaborate on your different roles.
Taranjit Kaur: The first part was writing. I have been writing since a very young age. So it doesn’t require so much of an effort. The choice to produce the first film was to have the creative freedom to explore the territories that haven’t been spoken about much. And I thoroughly enjoy producing content that believe in. Also, I have been acting since the age of 15 and I always enjoy creating and transforming into various characters.
Q3. You are a multifaceted artist. What is the biggest challenge when you don multiple hats? Which excites you most (acting, writing, or production)?
Taranjit Kaur: Acting will always be my first love. I started acting at a very young age in theatre and gradually got into films. The task to becoming another character is what excites me. And when you enjoy what you do then it’s never work, it becomes your passion.
Q4. Your short film has made it to MISAFF – Canada’s premier festival for South Asian cinema. Tell us about the experience.
Taranjit Kaur: It’s an absolute pleasure for our film to be screening at the prestigious festival MISAFF. Firstly, the festival director Arshad Khan and his entire team have been very warm and amazing people. We met last year at the Cannes Film Festival and was lovely to be invited for the festival this year. Though we would have loved to attend the festival and the red carpet in the real space but due to COVID-19 as all festivals are going virtual; we look forward to travelling next year.
Q5. How has COVID-19 affected the world of entertainment? What according to you is going to be its long term impact?
Taranjit Kaur: It has surely affected the world of entertainment to a large extent. As far as film industry is concerned a lot of films got stalled, the completed ones could not be released. The ones on floor had uncertainty of shoots with many people in the crew falling ill or testing positive. But the major point of concern is for the technicians and the junior artists who were dependent on the daily earning. They were affected badly as the shoots were erratic and the crew became smaller. We need to protect them and support them in the coming year as much as we can.
Q6. Tell us about your influences and inspirations. Also, how do you look back at your journey so far?
Taranjit Kaur: It’s been a long journey starting from a small town to living in Mumbai now. I still feel at heart I will always be a small town girl. I started doing theatre at the age of 15 with Neelam Mann Singh Chowdhary in Chandigarh and performed at major national and international theatre festivals. Theatre instills a sense of discipline in an actor and it’s important to train in the craft. From there, I worked with Ramanjit Kaur for few years which was more experimental and site specific theatre. In 2012, I did my first film Raju, an Indo German film, directed by Max Zahle, which won the Student Oscar Academy Award. Ankhon Dekhi was my first Indian film that was widely critically acclaimed. After that a series of Independent films happened. Every new film is a challenge and an opportunity to portray a new character.
As far as writing is concerned, I have been influenced by Kamla Das and Sylvia Plath.
Q7. How do you see the advent of OTT in the recent years? What are your upcoming projects?
Taranjit Kaur: These are exciting times for filmmakers with the advent of OTT platforms as it gives more liberty to them to make films with more creative freedom. A lot of very interesting films are being made. My upcoming films are Kaffaara, Murder on Road to Kathmandu, and Kabeer.
Watch ‘Love Sex Soprano’ Trailer here