Tiya Sircar Talks ‘Miss India America’ (Interview)

Miss India America ran through the festival circuit last year and garnered three awards and one nomination. The film has now become available to the public in a limited theatrical release beginning on 24 March 2016 and then will be on VoD from 5 April this year. In anticipation of the film’s open at Santa Monica tonight the star of Miss India America, Tiya Sircar took a few moments to speak with Mike’s Film Talk (MFT).


 

Tiya Sircar in Miss India America
Tiya Sircar as Lily Prasad

MFT: So what was it like working with  Ravi Kapoor? Does he still have his English accent?

Tiya: Yes he does but it is not the thick Liverpool accent (he’s from Liverpool) but he still has a slight accent. It’s like this lovely lilt and he can turn it on and off. Working with Ravi is great. He is one of the nicest human beings you could meet and he and Meera (Simhan) are both lovely people. 

But they are also really good at their job which made getting to work on this film so much more enjoyable. The script was so well written and funny and sharp and sensitive which was part of what drew me to this movie. The fact that Ravi’s an actor first and then a director gave the whole dynamic of working so different. 

Not to say that every director has to be an actor to be good at his job but the dynamic changes  and the vocabulary that one uses to speak to actors is different and it’s just a luxury to have someone who’s been on the receiving end of that giving you direction.  So it was a great experience working with him as a director. 

MFT: What was it like working with Kosha Patel?

Tiya: So first of all, I think that Kosha is just wildly funny and she is a total scene stealer and she is just great. I love her in real life as well. We knew each other sort of tangentially before just being actors in Hollywood and going up for the same auditions. So we had met and kind of knew of each other but we were not friends, but now we’re great friends which is nice. 

I just cannot imagine playing the role of Lily without Kosha as Seema. She was the perfect choice for Seema and I’m so happy that we got to take that journey together.  And we’re like great friends now so that’s like icing on the cake.

MFT: Well I thought you two were a brilliant double act!  Now the scene where you were learning the traditional dance on the basketball court. I found it very funny because of Lily’s attitude. How difficult was that to get through?

Tiya:  Well, I started dancing when I was two and I had my first dance recital at two and a half. And my mom was a dancer and actor when I was younger and  she was a choreographer throughout most of my childhood. So she was my first dance teacher and while I  later moved into ballet and jazz and lyrical dance, I first started by learning  Indian classical dance. So it wasn’t too far outside of my “wheelhouse.”  But…It was a little tricky acting like I didn’t know what to do.

It was fun because I feel like I am a dancer first and an actor second. And I have never really gotten to marry the two together, which at some point I would love to do, to be able to play a dancer or choreographer. To somehow get to do both on film.  But this was close and fun, because I didn’t have to worry about being good.

MFT: Did you enjoy revisiting, as it were, the life of a teenager?

Tiya: Yeah! I did! But you know? I feel pretty young, I’m sure lots of people can say that, but I think because I play a lot of roles that are much younger than I am,  I totally do not feel like some “older” person. So it’s not a case of going back in time, I sort of feel like I’m right there. It felt sort of natural for me to play that role. I know that it’s a coming of age story but I wasn’t worried about playing the age I was worried about playing the struggles and pressures that she felt and that kind of lent itself to where she is in life.  

MFT: Well I think you pulled it off admirably.

Tiya: Thank you!

MFT: Where did you see Lily heading after the film ended, what direction do you believe she was going to take.

Tiya: Well, I love the end of the film. I do believe that Lily will always want to win and be the best. I do think maybe she has learned that winning is not everything, there are other things to be. I can appreciate her feeling that way in my life. Wanting to win and to succeed.  Hopefully she has learned to strike a balance in her life. But she definitely has not lost her sense of self and of who she is. Lily has also not lost her desire to excel it is more about tempering that with other things that are important in life. 

After this question we got the “ten second” warning so there was just enough time to squeeze in one more question. Although it was a “cheeky” double query of what work Tiya had coming up and whether there was a shooting date on Dumb Prince a TV film that is in pre-production.

Tiya: Well, we are wrapping up Star Wars Rebels (the season two finale) and we’ve already started on season three. Plus I’ve got another animated feature  I will be working on but that I cannot talk about yet as it has not been announced. And I only just wrapped on the Amy Poehler pilot yesterday. So we’ll see what happens with that, so fingers crossed. 

MFT: I’ll keep a set of fingers crossed as well and may the premiere of Miss India America at Santa Monica go over as well as it has on the festival circuit. Thank you for taking time to chat with us today.

Tiya: Thank you! 

Mike’s Film Talk will be reviewing Tiya Sircar’s film and recommending that lovers of comedy and family dramas either head down to the cinema or wait impatiently till April 5 and watch it via one of the VoD streams.

Sidenote: For a list of other cinemas where the film can be seen on March 25 click here.

 

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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