The Act is On

Perfectionalism has its side effects. It leads to zero tolerance for mediocrity, for second best options, excuses, tardiness; in a nutshell, for nonsense. And that is one thing Tisca Chopra is hyper allergic to. "I am a perfectionist, a hard taskmaster, and the contestants better be aware of me, for I am not going to be sugar-coated," says Tisca, dressed in a black business suit. She gave a preview of things to come on Big Spark Punjabi's new reality show, Big Fame Star — The Ticket to Stardom. It is a contest to find the best all-rounder in performing arts. Tisca, along with Anup Soni, will be judging the show that will have 14 contestants vying for the title.

"Punjabis are born performers because they have the spirit and the heart," says Tisca, who shot to fame with Taare Zameen Par. A mentor, guide and judge on the show, Tisca rewinds to her days of struggle and wished they had platforms such as this. "Mumbai, with its fast pace, escalating expenses and tight living spaces can be a very intimidating and lonely place to be in, especially for a gregarious Punjabi like me," shares Tisca, who, interestingly, has a book coming out on the same subject. Titled Get Your Act Together — Guide to Indian Film Industry, the book will hit the shelves next year.

While her husband, Captain Sanjay Chopra, launched his debut book Talespin recently, this is a first for Tisca, who is the grandniece of writer Khushwant Singh. "Now that my struggle is over, I can talk about it," she says with a laugh. The book is Bollywood's good, bad and ugly — from her personal experiences, real stories by friends such as Kavita Kaushik, Imtiaz Ali, Anurag Kashyap and Boman Irani, to casting couch, biased contracts, manipulative managers, bad behaviours, auditions and arrogance. It is also a collection of her notes, entries and thoughts penned over eight years — how she took up a course in advertising and marketing in Mumbai against her parents wishes, how she regrets not training in theatre in Mumbai, how she would take scripts a day in advance and prepare with props for auditions, how her fear was mistaken for arrogance and her first film Platform went flat. "These are insights, anecdotal, not explosive or biographical, for I still have so much to learn from my craft. It's an ongoing process," she says.

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