Tanuja, Tanisha: Awestruck with beauty of A & N Islands

Report by: 
Port Blair
6 Apr 2018

For the generation today, Tanuja is Kajol’s and Tanisha’s mom and mother-in-law of Ajay Devgn. But in the glorious 70s and the 80s, she ruled the silver screen. A recipient of two Filmfare Awards, the septuagenarian charmed her audience onscreen with her versatile performances in movies like Memdidi, Nai Roshni, Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi, Jewel Thief, Chand Aur Suraj, Jeene Ki Raah, Haathi Mere Saathi, Mere Jeevan Saathi to name a few. Not to forget, she is also daughter of the original firebrand actress, Shobhna Samarth, and younger sister of fine actress, Nutan.

Her younger daughter, Tanisha Mukerji is also a famous Indian film actress known for her works predominantly in Bollywood besides a few Telugu and Tamil films. She made her debut with the Hindi film Sssshhh... in 2003 and had her first hit with Ram Gopal Varma's Sarkar. She was also seen in movies such as Popcorn Khao! Mast Ho Jao, Sarkar,Tango Charlie and many more. During their recent visit to these islands, Tanuja and Tanisha spoke exclusively to EOI’s Roopa Lall (RL). Excerpts from the interview:

RL: Tell us about your family and career in the movie industry.

Tanuja: I am born in a family having deep roots in the movie industry.  My father was a filmmaker and mother a famous actress. My real name is Tanuja Samarth.

RL: How has been your stay in these islands?

Tanuja: I am in awe with the natural beauty and serenity of these islands. In  fact amazing. I found cleanliness and plastic free zones in almost every places, I travelled here. However, while returning from Cellular Jail, I noticed garbage at some places which disappointed me.

Tanisha: This is my second visit to these islands. Last year, I came here for the Andaman Marathon. I too found trash at some beaches. Islanders, as we are told, are very particular towards maintaining cleanliness and respect towards nature. The discipline probably lacks in visitors from different parts of the country, which is unfortunate.

RL: How deeply are you involved in social activities?

Tanuja: Social work is my passion. I run an NGO named Lonavla-Khandala Citizens Forum which focuses on environmental issues in the hilly terrain. At Mumbai and Pune, the NGO works in association with municipal bodies and locals to sensitize people on the importance of preserving environment. We donate saplings to people and support them in nurturing it. Thousands of saplings have been planted so far in different areas. Besides, we conduct awareness drives in schools. We’re in the process of launching a new project soon in which school students will be asked on how they want Lonavala or Khandala to be. As part of this, contests like drawing, painting etc will be conducted on schemes like Swacch Bharat Mission etc. I am also the Treasurer of “Prashanti” Cancer Care Medical Research Foundation, which t  treated more than 3000 patients from Pune so far on nominal charges. Awareness on prevention of different forms of cancer is also conducted by the foundation at regular intervals.

Tanisha: I’m not that involved in social work as my mother. But whenever I find time, I join her in her activities.

RL: You are a legendary actress in Bollywood with countless hits. Do you still take up movie assignments?

Tanuja: Yes definitely. I have recently completed a Bengali movie and one Marathi. I also worked for TV soap on Star Plus ‘Aarambh’.  I’ll definitely work in Bollywood movies. Presently, I am busy with my NGO.

Tanisha:  At this age also, my mother is very active. She is very passionate about movies and her NGO and manages her assignments very professionally.

RL: Do you wish to join politics some day?

Tanuja: I have received many offers from political parties. A complete apolitical person, I feel I’m not made for politics. I am content with my NGO and environment related works.

RL: You have two daughters extremely successful in their careers. Do you miss having a son?

Tanuja:  I’m extremely proud of my daughters, Kajol and Tanisha. I never differentiate between a boy and a girl. Both are equally important. The tribal population at Car Nicobar is a shining example where both are treated with equal importance. In our country, there are many places where girls are not given adequate opportunities. We need to bridge the gap and make sure that girls are not discriminated.