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Tillotama Shome on token representation, 20 years of acting, and finally getting work - ‘Don't just put a woman in to make a fairer representation’ | Exclusive

Tillotama Shome who now joins Kota Factory 3 talks about her career, time in Mumbai, and what she feels about representation. 

Tillotama Shome on token representation, 20 years of acting, and finally getting work - ‘Don't just put a woman in to make a fairer representation’ | Exclusive
Tillotama Shome Talks About 20 Years In Films, Representation, and More

Last Updated: 10.44 AM, Jun 23, 2024


That Tillotama Shome’s presence in any project itself intrigues us and makes us curious as to what she has been cooking is a fact, and there is no way we are stopping being her fans ever. The actor, who made her debut with a Mira Nair movie back in 2001 (yes, Monsoon Wedding), has been fighting a battle to not succumb to the trending pool where actors lose themselves and have been taking up roles that have only added value to her resume rather than volume. But that also meant she has spent more time waiting for a project than on sets, and that does take a toll on any actor. But luckily now, the advent of OTT has made the world realize her potential as an actor, and here she is, leading projects like a pro. Now, as she joins the cast of Kota Factory season 3, she sat down with OTTplay for an exclusive conversation. 

Tillotama plays Pooja ma'am/didi in the widely popular Kota Factory has now met a very emotional climax (not spoiling it as of yet). The Death In The Gunj actor joined OTTplay for an exclusive chat alongside co-star Jitendra Kumar and director Pratish Mehta. When asked about getting opportunities after having stood on her rules for 20 years and whether we are finally there with giving women the roles they deserve, Shome was quick to confirm that it is still very much a honeymoon phase and that we will have to give women a little more before we say that. Read on to know everything you should about the same.

Tillotama Shome On Representation

“I think you will have to give us a little bit more before you say that. It is not an even playing field. Because I think there are also people in positions of power, the representation there itself is not balanced. So there is a boy's club but I think even those boys' clubs are now made of men who are questioning and they are inviting women. Different kinds of voice and I know, in fact, and I am going to mention TVF in this case. I think it was known as the Boys Club, but now the writer's room has many women. And introducing Pooja Didi's character in Kota Factory was also a step in that direction,” Tillotama Shome said.

However, she was quick to talk about how that is not enough and that she doesn't want people to just cast women for diversity casting for representation if those roles have nothing to offer. “I don't think it's enough. But if you have to choose and you are more interested in telling the story of a man, then tell it well. Don't just put a woman in to make a fairer representation and give her nothing to do," said Tillotama Shome. “I would rather watch a show about a male protagonist that is well made and doesn't have a female part than just play a token diversity casting. And I am very lucky that in the last three years, I have gotten very interesting women to play. But if I divide that into 20 years, it is much less per annum. So I feel like in many ways I have just started.”

Tillotama Shome On Challenges

Tillotama Shome then went on to talk about the challenges she faces now and feels that it is still the same. However, she has now gained access to a completely new world that she was detached from for 20 years, even when those people were always around her. “The challenge is still the same. It is about finding the story that excites you. What has changed? The frequency has changed but again I think it's been almost the past couple of months, almost a year the industry has gone through a severe reshuffle or halt. Then one is considering what kind of stories one wants to tell. So do I feel like my confidence has had a boost because you know when you get more work, more exposure, you learn from different crews and it feels definitely.”

“I know more people in Mumbai now than I knew in 20 years. Last year, the number of people I have met I haven't met in these two decades. For me, that discovery has also been my goodness, in this city where I every day woke up, went out to the market, buy my vegetables, come back, cooked my meal, I bumped into people, but I didn't know there were so many storytellers whom I never met,” she added.

Calling the rise in content and opportunities still a very honeymoon phase, Tillotama Shome in her conclusion said, “So for me to know there are so many ways of working, I feel like the growth spurts have been very exponential. It's not just two plus two, it's the power of n because you meet so many different styles of working. At the moment, it is still a very honeymoon phase. The challenging phase of 'Oh I have so much, I don't know what to do, or I am so bored'. No, I am really still understanding, relatively when OTT started these guys (Jitendra Kumar and Pratish Mehta) were the founders, the trailblazers, but for me, I am very new. My first OTT release was just two years ago. So this is still a world I am very new to.”


Kota Factory season 3 is now streaming on Netflix. Stay tuned to OTTplay for more information on this and everything else from the world of streaming and films.

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