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Tillotama Shome: The why behind her actions interested me

Updated on: 27 August,2022 07:32 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Uma Ramasubramanian |

Playing criminal mastermind in 'Delhi Crime 2', Tillotama says series explores how systemic marginalisation of the underprivileged leads to crimes

Tillotama Shome: The why behind her actions interested me

Tillotama Shome in the series

To Tillotama Shome, joining the cast of 'Delhi Crime 2' is “a sweet homecoming” of sorts. The actor, after all, has collaborated with director Tanuj Chopra on several short films, including Butterfly (2003) and Chop Chop (2009). Over a decade on, when Chopra needed an actor who could do justice to the angst and violence of Karishma — depicted on screen as the mastermind of the Kachcha Baniyan gang — Shome was his first choice. “She masterminds heinous crimes. The why behind her actions interested me. Why does she do what she does? The institutions that punish criminals are often punishing them for [the system’s] own failure to provide basic access to human rights. Karishma’s dreams are not criminal, but her ways of getting to them are violent,” says the actor, evidently fascinated by her character.


In the second season of the Shefali Shah and Rasika Dugal-starrer, the Delhi Police is seen investigating a multiple murder case involving senior citizens. Through the case, the Netflix series revisits the gruesome crimes of the Kachcha-Baniyan gang that operated in north India. What drew Shome to the project was that it went beyond a police procedural to delve deep into how society pushes the marginalised to the wall. “A person is not born a criminal. Karishma, like many of us, wanted a better life and imitated the likes of those who were more affluent. But to them, she was invisible. For Karishma, [the invisibilisation] took the shape of violence. In some, it takes the shape of self-harm. One is criminalised, the other is not. The police find it shocking that she left her child. Fathers are not blamed as harshly for doing the same. It isn’t a crime to not want a child, but our society makes it out to be.”


Also Read: Shefali Shah: She was a hero in the first season, she is human now


Playing such an intense role for months can take a toll on an artiste. But the actor views it differently. “Real life is far more triggering than fiction. The pandemic underlined that. I have a supportive family, and friends. My partner diffuses my work-related stress. I garden, cook, and now even embroider,” she laughs, before adding, “One has to find inspiration and calm in the everyday.”

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