“I am in a profession, which is least affected by the recession” says Tara Sharma. When her peers were busy mulling over balance sheets and future forecasts of the companies, Tara Sharma, a London School of Economics (LSE) graduate chose to face the arc lights in Bollywood instead. And the camera had always loved her. “I had been doing ads right from the age of 11,” says Tara, half British and half Indian daughter of Susan and Pratap Sharma. She did her first ad for Amulya milk powder and from then the offers kept pouring in. “Advertisements were fun and good pocket money but studies were always a priority. I was a diligent student and was among the top rankers in school and college.”
After graduating from LSE, Tara took up a job as a consultant with Accenture in London. “I worked there for two years. All this while I kept on getting offers from Indian film-makers because of my successful modeling stint with a few lucrative assignments such as Lakme in my portfolio. I am not outwardly ambitious and conscious by nature. Leaving a highly paid job for a career in Bollywood was a huge risk. However, the film industry is not unknown to me. My father is also an actor and writer and had won a National Award in the 70s’ for a movie called “Phir Bhi”. I decided to give acting a shot and came back to India in 2002,” says Tara.
She didn’t have to wait for too long either. Anupam Kher spotted her in one of the ads and offered her a role in his first directorial venture called “Om Jai Jagdeesh”. “I was extremely lucky to work with veterans such as Anupam Kher and Anil Kapoor and be part of a wonderful team,” says Tara. The movie didn’t do well but Tara’s acting career took off. Her first hit came with the comedy “Masti” (2004). This was followed by critically acclaimed and hit movies: “Page 3” (2005) and “Khosla Ka Ghosla” (2006). Speaking on her choice of films she adds, “I look for story and then people. For example, I worked in Khosla… because it had a wonderful script although the director was new and money was also not good. However, I balance it out with doing big budget commercial films as the money is important.”
Tara got married to Roopak Saluja, owner of “Bang Bang films”, an ad film company, in 2007.Many considered it professional hara-kiri at the time as most leading ladies of Bollywood choose to marry only at the fag end of their career. Tara says “Well, I have never been so happy in my life.” The glow on her face is evident; and so is the baby bump as Tara is four months pregnant. “I believe in a happy and a well-rounded life. You can work together as a team and support each other. Yes, I lost out on Karan Johar’s film to be directed by Rensil D’Silva but I believe there is a time and place for everything. I’ll continue doing selective films.”
To the newcomer looking to make a break she advises “Success or failure, don’t take things to heart and follow your dreams”. Tara’s forthcoming films are “Suno Na”, and “Mocktail” proving that there is a career post-marriage for this leading lady.