She gained recognition for her winning performances in a music reality show in the year 2005. A couple of years later, Tia Bajpai made her acting debut in a television show, went on to do films and even sung a couple of songs in the interim. This year, she will be seen as the protagonist in a major web show and she will enthral her fans with her voice in a couple of singles as well. In an exclusive interview, the young woman with a pretty face and a soothing voice talks about her journey which started with a reality show, changing her name from Twinkle to Tia, striking a balance between acting and singing, her new web show and forthcoming projects.
You participated in 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2005', a music reality show several years back. Do you think the show helped you to make an entry into the film industry?
Vikram Bhatt asked you to change your name from Twinkle to Tia when he signed you for 'Haunted 3D'.
A few years back, Vikram Bhatt headed this company called ASA Films. It had a music department too which was called ASA Music. I was doing a music album with them. We had even recorded six songs for it. Unfortunately, the album never released but Vikram sir saw me while were doing a photoshoot for the album and told me that I would be perfect for a role in a film he was planning to make at that time. In 'Haunted 3D', my character was that of a woman who loved music and singing. So, he thought I was apt for the role and that is how the film happened.
You went on to do two more films with him, '1920 Evil Returns' and 'Lanka'. Now, you are doing a web series for his company. How has been the experience of working with him?
I have been a part of his team for eight years now. I signed 'Haunted 3D' in 2010. I remember we started shooting for the film on 6 July 2010. Whenever I feel like, I go to his office and chill with his daughter Krishna. I have literally seen Krishna grow up and turn into a director. I know his entire unit and am very comfortable working with them.
Tell us something about your upcoming web show 'Zakhmi'.
'Zakhmi' is basically the story of a young woman. That woman could be anybody - she could be working in a bank, she could be a sales girl. It is about a girl who gets brutally beaten up, tormented and raped. She survives the incident and decides to get back at people who did this to her. It is a revenge drama.
The plotline reminds one of the 'Hate Story' series.
No, it is very different from that. I was also a part of 'Hate Story IV', so I can confidently tell you that our show has a very different story from that. It is, of course, a revenge drama but nothing like the ones you have seen. In the show, you will see my character indulging in very little panning and plotting. You will mostly see her shooting people in their heads (laughs).
Who has directed the show?
Arbaaz Ali Moghul, the son of veteran action director Abbas Ali Moghul, has directed the show. Abbas sir has choreographed the action in the show.
Is there a lot of action in the show?
Yes, there is a lot of action and I have done all the action myself. I do not like using a body double. For me, it was relatively easy as I had performed action sequences and stunts in my earlier films also.
Have you sung any song for the show?
No, I have not. Somebody else was supposed to do 'Zakhmi'. I signed the show four days before we were supposed to start shooting. If I had told Vikram sir that I want to sing a song, he would have probably let me sing one for the show but I was so busy in preparing for the role that I did not have any time to do that.
You have been doing films till now. Were you apprehensive about getting into the digital space?
Absolutely not. I am an actor. I do not treat myself as a celebrity or a star. When you start thinking yourself to be a star and decide that you are only going to do a certain kind of work, you end up limiting yourself. I would not like to do that. I had earlier done another web show for Vikram sir called 'Trapped' where I was playing an important character and not the lead role. I came to Mumbai to become a singer. Acting is something that happened to me and I am glad it did.
You get a lot of freedom on the web.
Yes, the best part about web is that there is no interference or censorship. The interesting thing is that despite getting so much freedom, we do not go overboard with it. People in India love watching 'Game Of Thrones' but if an Indian filmmaker makes it in India, he will tone down the violence and sexual references. People will not accept it otherwise.
Do you think your singing career took a backseat because of acting?
No, my singing career has not taken a backseat because of acting. I am doing a lot of shows. I keep travelling for shows all the time. I am not shooting all the time. For 'Zakhmi', I shot for three months and now, I am travelling again for my shows.
Are you planning to come up with some single tracks?
I just released a reprised version of "Chalte Chalte", the song from 'Pakeezah'. It is on Sa Re Ga Ma music. I got a very good response for that. In August or September, I will be coming up with an original single. It is in the sufi rock space.
Do you plan to do a film next?
I am in talks for a film. It is in the scripting stage at the moment. It is a hard-hitting, woman-oriented subject.
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