Tillotama Shome: The audience fought for me to be on the poster


I thought either I was hallucinating or the audience! My work hasn’t been exposed to such numbers before,” exclaims Tillotama Shome, whose performance in The Night Manager was loved by the audience when it dropped online in February. Four months since its release, the spotlight is still firmly on the actor, who plays a focused R&AW officer with a quirky sense of humour in the thriller. “I’m used to finishing my work and moving on, and not having journalists interview me because they would interview mainstream actors,” she laughs.

Shome now awaits the release of the second part of the Disney+ Hotstar series led by Aditya Roy Kapur, Anil Kapoor and Sobhita Dhulipala. In a big win, the streamer and makers have ensured she not only features in the new posters with her co-stars, but also gets her stand-alone poster. This move comes after the audience criticised the makers for not including her—a pivotal character in the adaptation of the British original of the same name—on the poster, the first time around. “The media asked about it and so did the audience, that’s why the Hotstar team put me on the poster of the second part. I got this position because of the audience’s love. The audience has felt connected with my work, and fought for me to be on the poster.”

For an actor, who has delivered many powerful performances in films—from Monsoon Wedding (2001) to Qissa (2015) and Sir (2020)—Shome should have had her moment in the sun much sooner. She, however, views her journey with a sense of gratitude rather than bitterness. “I still stand by all those movies. If I hadn’t done those independent films, I wouldn’t be doing The Night Manager. I’d change nothing about my journey. It makes sense for the marketing team to put faces on the poster that are more seen, it will draw the audience in. Then your work will speak for itself. Changing something takes time, and we all have to work on it rather than being angry. I remember Irrfan Khan telling me once, ‘You will not get anything by crying like Meena Kumari! Learn to love life. If you aren’t getting work, do something else with your time.’ Thanks to him and people around me, I have an enriching life.”

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