Taapsee Pannu on breaking barriers with her film choices and speaking her mind.
After receiving appreciations for Mulk and Manmarziyaan, actress Taapsee Pannu is back with a suspense thriller titled Badla. Directed by Sujoy Ghosh, the film would see Taapsee sharing the screen space with her Pink co-star Amitabh Bachchan where they both will share the client and lawyer relationship once again.
While it is said that the suspense thrillers don’t have a repeat value, Taapsee is hopeful of people watching the whodunnit murder mystery again and again. “I debated this with myself when I was saying yes to this film but the thrill of reading it the first time was so much… There are only four to five characters in the entire film and every time you are doubting each other, you would want to watch it again to know what did I miss. For people who love thrillers, I would want them to realise where did we miss and actually notice the hint so it has repeat value,” says the 31-year-old actress whose film choices have been very different from those of a quintessential actress.
Her last film Manmarziyaan saw her playing a grey character who is impulsive and doesn’t refrain from making a wrong choice. Talking about her film, Taapsee says, “I felt Manmarziyaan was quite ahead of its time because it made our regular average audience to fathom the fact that the protagonist can do wrong things. Maybe they won’t appreciate it now and after four to five years they may call it classic.” She further admits being doubtful of the protagonist initially and blames it on the years of conditioning that saw the protagonist as the most righteous person. “It’s we (film industry) who made this mistake and we did it for years and now its difficult for the audience to see a woman protagonist doing anything wrong. You have to be the epitome of righteousness if you are a woman. We are as human as anyone else, we are not Sita ma (goddess Sita) in real life.”
The actress has rightfully been accepted as one of the strong actresses but despite that, she doesn’t get many glamorous or commercial projects. When Taapsee was asked about the same, she humbly accepts it not being her forte. “For the glamorous or so-called commercial films like Judwaa kinds, I think there are so many actresses who are gorgeous and perfect and let’s be honest, my forte is not that. I can do that but if you think about Taapsee, it doesn’t come as the first role in your head. If you mix that glamorous character with a strong role then people come to me,” says the actress who has finally made peace with it. “When I started off, I was frustrated and used to question why am I not getting commercial roles because I used to do those films in the South. I have done like the most commercial stuff in the South. So, it was annoying for me but I realised that there are so many other girls who can do these roles much better than me and they are gorgeous doing that. That’s why they are the first choice for those roles,” she adds.
The industry is also known to have a say of men in casting the leading ladies. When asked to comment on the same, Taapsee said, “Yes, it happens, which is not right. Be it an actor or actress, nobody should take the call who the actor should be. You can suggest to your director who you feel fits the bill but you can’t tell the director not to take this actor,” she says and further adds how men in the industry continue to follow age-old practices like not wanting to do a role that is slightly lesser than the female protagonist. “It’s a bitter fact. Lots of actors say they do it but there are not too many actors who are okay with it. That change will take a long time. I don’t know if in my lifetime it will change or not but I hope it changes.”
Taapsee was also offered a lead role in Pati Patni Aur Woh and the actress took to social media to point out the unprofessionalism where she wasn’t told about her name being dropped. The actress got to know from social media that her role has gone to someone else. Interestingly, the role went to Bhumi Pednekar with whom Taapsee is working in Anurag Kashyap’s Saand Ki Aankh.
Commenting on the same, Taapsee says, “Whatever was unfair, I called it out. My agenda was to call out the practice that was wrong. I said this should never happen to any actor in future and because I have enough projects in my hand, I am in a position where I can call it out without having the fear of being judged.” She further adds, “When I spoke about it, I didn’t know Bhumi was signed up for it nor did she know that I had heard the script. In fact, she reached out to me and was worried. She said she didn’t know about it and was sorry. I told her ‘why are you sorry? Just chill’. She said that since we are working together, she didn’t want to make it awkward. I told her ‘you are not the one responsible for it’ and that’s it.”
Undoubtedly one of the most vocal actresses, Taapsee has always voiced her opinion. But in an industry that continues to be dominated by men who are known to see opinionated women as a problem, did she ever have to bear the brunt? “I would not generalise. I think there will be few people who would not like it and there are few who like it, that’s why I am still getting work. I only hear from people who text me saying they have liked what I have said,” she says and immediately adds that perhaps this could be the reason why she doesn’t get through a lot of people or films. “But I can’t do anything about it,” adds the unapologetic actress.
Taapsee had earlier said that she would never date a star. Does she still stick to it? “Actually, I also said never say never. Yes, I still stick to that statement because I don’t want to talk about films at home. I really want to have a normal life I need to keep my professional life disconnected from my personal life. If I am going to talk about films at home that means I have no ‘cut and pack up’ in my life. I don’t want that to happen. I am not dating an actor for sure. People would like to write about it but probably it is not as fascinating a relationship as a lot of others and so it is not that exciting to write about,” she concludes.