EXCLUSIVE: Tenet's Dimple Kapadia on scary audition, Christopher Nolan & Indian stars succeeding in Hollywood
2020 has indeed been an overwhelming year for many! The movie industry had to take a major hit because of release dates and production delays. Amongst the most-anticipated films of the year was Christopher Nolan's Tenet and with persistence to not release his film on an OTT platform, the John David Washington and Robert Pattinson starrer was given a theatrical release worldwide instead.
Indian fans of Nolan, too, had to wait a long, long time before the news was broken by Dimple Kapadia, who stars as Priya in Tenet, that the movie was finally releasing in the country as well. In an EXCLUSIVE interaction with Pinkvilla, we spoke to the 63-year-old actress about her experience of being a part of such a big project, what it was like to work with director extraordinaire Nolan as well as the talented cast.
Read Pinkvilla's EXCLUSIVE interview with Dimple Kapadia below:
Given how you had expressed your wish of Tenet having a theatrical release in India, how relieved are you to know that it's finally coming true?
I am absolutely overjoyed. And, like all Christopher Nolan films, I can imagine how they have really waited for Tenet and they might be really looking forward to seeing this film. It’s a fantastic film. Absolutely mind-blowing. The scale is unimaginable.
As you had to audition for the role, something you're not used to, how scary was the entire process?
It was a huge project. I had to do an audition and it was very scary. I prepared myself. I can't remember lines so I wrote them in papers and I said, 'Let me at least try for myself... Let me see if I can do it or not.' The first one, I wasn't happy with it and did another one... We sent it across and I was very wary, so I called up my agent Purvi Lavingia and thanks to her, I got this because she's so persistent. She was like an angel who comes and tells 'You have to do it.' I called her up and said, 'No, don't send it! What was I thinking?' Then, I got a message that Nolan liked the audition. It was absolutely memorable.
What was your first meeting like with a director as universally revered as Christopher Nolan?
It was absolutely amazing because he is so unamused and so warm, friendly, down-to-earth and I didn't feel like I was standing in front of one of the biggest directors in the world. He didn't let me feel like that. He made me feel so comfortable. Everything was just smooth after that.
Your character Priya almost has a dual personality, where you don't know if she's good or bad. How was it to undertake such a grey role, especially in a Nolan-directed film?
It was wonderful and the best part is, it was written so beautifully. It wasn't much, but I had to do it really well... [Nolan] He designs the character right to the minutest of details. The hair, the way he wants the hair; when he wants it up and when he wants it down down, the clothes, how he wants her to look... There's nothing you can really do. You just have to be in his hands and it's all done.
What did Christopher Nolan, John David Washington and Robert Pattinson make of the overwhelming fan response when they came to India for Tenet's shoot?
It was very welcoming for them. Having said that, no one stepped out of line or disturbed the shoot. There were fans who had come and were so much in awe of him [Nolan]. I felt like a Maharani thinking he's come to my country, I have to show them the hospitality of India and stay close to them. I really felt like a Maharaja, literally!
Given how most of your scenes in Tenet were with John David Washington, how was your working experience with the supremely talented actor?
He is such a humble and lovely soul. He also made me feel so comfortable. After a couple of shots, he would, 'Hey, now that's the temp for me!' Now, I couldn't understand what that meaning was. I still don't understand it, so I will take it as a compliment. He's very encouraging and he made me feel as if there's this one veteran actor and I'm the newbie kind of feeling... It was a great working relationship.
Your nephew Karan Kapadia had a major fanboy moment when he got to meet Christopher Nolan during his India visit. How was that special moment?
So lucky. He got a picture and I still don't have a picture [with Nolan] Can you believe that? I was such a fool, that he has a picture and I don't. (laughs) It's a masterpiece.
I would tell all his fans, 'Guys, you'll are going to love it! Just go and watch it, it's fantastic.' Just take all the precautions. Even I am working on set with people, so precaution is a must. Please go and see it. It's an absolutely fabulous film.
Given how Indian actors are now being more welcomed in Hollywood with meatier roles rather than the stereotypical ones, what is your take on it, especially with how you got an intricately important role in Tenet?
Shabana Azmi was the pioneer for us actors into Hollywood. She did some fantastic roles and got people to look at the fact that there is a lot of talent in India. It was great for us. Today, internationally, all actors are getting to showcase their talent with more flexibility. It's opened up a lot more talent from all over the world.
Tenet is slated to release in India, tomorrow, i.e. December 4.