Tara Sutaria for HELLO! India© HelloIndia

Tara Sutaria On Beauty Standards, Bollywood And More

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Jeena J Billimoria

Meeting Tara Sutaria is an absolute pleasure. From the minute you say hello to her (no pun intended), she puts you at ease. When she walks into the Oberoi hotel in Mumbai, where the shoot is scheduled to take place, it’s sans the attitude, insecurity or condescension that many of her Bollywood peers wear like second skin.

As her name suggests, she’s a star — but she doesn’t need to throw her weight around to prove it. Her demeanour and politeness do all the talking. She smiles at everyone, seemingly unaware—or perhaps nonchalant—of the buzz she creates. It’s in that instant you know that she’s a really nice human being.

She’s a natural beauty, and to say the camera adores her, would be something of an understatement. And she’s equally intelligent and philosophical too. For this interview, HELLO! wanted to delve more in-depth into Tara’s personality — away from the big screen and what one sees on Instagram. And fortunately for us, she’s ready to oblige, and so begins our chat…

HELLO!: You’ve always been a natural performer — be it with singing, dancing, modelling, acting—was there ever a moment where your family didn’t want you to step into Bollywood?

Tara Sutaria: “Luckily, my parents have always supported what I’ve wanted to do in life or who I’ve wanted to hang out with—be it my friendships or relationships. Our equation is more akin to best friends, rather than a parent- child relationship. I’m sure there was some apprehension in the beginning, but there’s nothing that can’t be solved with good communication. I was aware that this will be a new experience, for us as a family and also for me, personally. And with anything new, there’s fear attached, but they handled it beautifully.”

H!: Of all your movies so far, which has been the closest to your heart?

TS: “As is the case for most actors—I think it would be my first film, Student of the Year 2. Your first film is extremely special. It’s such a new experience; it’s difficult to explain the emotion, but it makes you foray into this very unique world.”

H!: Define your dream role as a woman of today...

TS: “There’s a lot that I want to do. Perhaps a romantic film—one with old-world charm. I still haven’t done a love story, and as a viewer, that’s a genre I love. But the old-world space is something I resonate with—a story set in another time. I would love to sing my own songs again, and explore that differently.”

H!: What projects are you most excited about this year?

TS: “I’m looking forward to my next release, Apurva. It’s about a woman of today and a role that many wouldn’t have expected me to do. It’s a story about survival, and I think many youngsters will be able to relate to parts of it.”

 H!: Do you believe in cosmetic surgery and would you ever go under the knife?

TS: “It’s not something that I would choose to do. I endorse natural beauty and both my grandmothers and mum believe in that, so that’s what I’ve been raised to think. But at the same time, I understand why people choose to do it, if it makes them feel their best.”

H!: So many young women look up to you and hold you to ideal beauty standards... What message do you have for those who struggle with self-confidence?

TS: “If you’re going through a phase where you’re feeling under confident, what’s important to know is that there is good in all of us. I believe in affirmations and manifestation. Focus on making it happen. With regard to judgement on how you look, it’s a cruel world we live in sometimes, where people are quick to judge. So it’s important to have a strong sense of self-belief. There are moments where we all feel confused, but it’s important to understand how you can improve, and then work towards it. Also, practise self-love. That’s something I’ve learned to do only over the past few years.”

H!: What outfits are you most at ease in?

TS: “At work, we tend to wear clothes that aren’t necessarily comfortable, but look good on camera, and that’s fabulous (one of the perks of the business!). But I enjoy wearing loose clothes like kaftans at home because they’re really comfortable. When I’m out, I’m almost always wearing white—it’s my favourite colour (smiles).”

 H!: Who’s Tara behind the lens?

TS: “I hope to open a restaurant someday soon, or a jazz bar with live music so I can amalgamate two of my favourite things—food and music. I think people know that I’m an introvert and I like my alone time. I like the company of my childhood friends and family, it makes me happy. I love to travel, and I’m absolutely crazy for stray animals — they have so much love to give! (If I could adopt all of them, I would). And I’ve been fostering a lot of stray pups for a while now because they’re in need of TLC.”

H!: How would you describe your ideal partner?

TS: “I’m a relatively private person but at the same time, I don’t hide things or the people that I love. Quality wise, I don’t really have a list, but a sense of humour is of paramount importance. We live in a serious world, so it’s important that the person I’m with is able to laugh, and not take life too seriously.”

H!: You have 8.7 million followers on Instagram—what’s it like to post for such a staggering number?

TS: “When I first joined Instagram after the release of my debut film, I wasn’t sure how to be on it—if the likes and dislikes would match the people following me. Overnight, there were so many followers, and that was overwhelming. But I’ve always been myself, whether it’s in interviews, or on social media. I’ve been posting a lot more than usual of late because I’m ready for people to see and hear me (and there’s always something goofy or work-related!).”

Photos: Rahul Jhangiani; Creative Direction: Avantikka Kilachand; Styling: Anushree Sardesai & Richa Mehta; Assisted By Jhanvi Khatwani; Makeup: Shraddha Mehta; Hair: Hiral Bhatia; Wardrobe: Matsya; Location Courtesy: The Oberoi, Mumbai