The courtesan is an iconic part of Indian society, culture, entertainment, cinema, theater but it was different for me to explore her in new territory: Tabu

Asha Bajaj
5 min readOct 16, 2020

#ASuitableBoy, #Tabu, #IshaanKhatter, #TanishkaManiktala

During one of the conversations series organized by the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Geoff Macnaughton of TIFF catches up with Tanishka Maniktala playing Lata, Ishaan Khatter playing Maan, and Tabu playing Saida Bai in the film ‘A Suitable Boy,’ a primetime presentation recipient of the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media. The director of the film, Mira Nair’s six-part drama series is an adaptation of Vikram Seth’s famous novel about a young Indian woman’s struggle to create a balance between family duty and personal independence in post-partition India. Canadian-Media’s Editorial-Director, Asha Bajaj brings you the excerpts:

Ishan with Tabu. Image credit:

Geoff to Tanya (Tanishka): Tanya, congratulations on such a wonderful performance. Tell me which characteristics of Lata you were really drawn to when you first read the novel and the script? Can you describe the journey from getting a lead role in the BBC series, to working with Mira, Andrew, Ishaan, Tabu, to showcasing a film in a major film festival?

Tanya: I am still reading the novel and have not finished it yet. But even before I started reading it, I had a call with Nita, and we discussed Lata’s character and the story, and I had done an audition. Lata may not be the drop-dead gorgeous girl, but the characteristics that drew me most towards her were her simplicity both in her thoughts and actions, no pretenses, her confidence, her appealing charm, unmoved by the things around her. Being smart, and honest, she lives in her own bubble, has her own thoughts, is well-spoken, and speaks her mind. These characteristics of Lata motivated me to play Lata’s character.

The journey feels really surreal. I cannot believe I am here. I am doing this with all of you! (laughter)

Tanya. Image credit: Facebook page

Geoff to Tabu: Tabu, your first international project was Mira’s 2006 film, ‘The Namesake’. What was it like to work with her again

Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women