Taapsee recently trained hard in martial arts and shares her thoughts on trend of women-centric films and benefit of back-to-back releases.
When it came to learning action sequences, Taapsee Pannu opted to learn from the Khiladi himself. “When it comes to action, not many heroines have done that on screen. So, I had no actress as a benchmark. In our country, when it comes to martial arts, Akshay (Kumar) sir is the best and so, I looked up to him for my action sequences. It’s so intimidating to do action in a film where he is part of the cast. In fact, I used to eagerly watch him do his action scenes,” she says and adds, “I had never done any form of martial arts in my life before Baby. I trained for two-three hours everyday for a fortnight during the making of Baby but for Shabana, I had to train for a month and a half. So, jo laat maarna seekha tha pichli film mein usko aage extend kiya hai. I also learnt some basic Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) techniques. It was challenging to play this character because I couldn’t identify with it at any level. There is nothing common between Shabana and me. So, there were many questions about the character. Also, I am completely a director’s actor and do what is fed in my head.”
When asked if the film will inspire girls to train in self-defense, she says, “We keep talking about the problems and who is responsible for crimes against women and indulge in blame games. But I think it’s time to take our safety in our own hands, so that we can react immediately and not wait for someone to come and help us. I think the film will be a great success, if it inspires women to take up self-defense.”
Last year, Taapsee Pannu gave a stellar performance in Pink and this month, two of her films Running Shaadi and The Ghazi Attack have already hit the theatres, while Naam Shabana will release at the end of March. Ask her if the films quickly releasing one after the other is a good thing, she says, “I think it’s beneficial for me as the Hindi movie watching audience hasn’t seen much of my work. Also, since I am working with Akshay sir, some of his traits have to rub on me.” Taapsee was pointing at Akshay’s record of releasing three to four films in a year while other A-listers prefer to do one or two movies.
Taapsee also didn’t feel any stress about carrying the film on her shoulder. “For me, it was just like doing Baby. I got the same vibes from everyone and I did whatever I was asked to do and went home,” she says. On the trend of women-oriented movies, she opines, “We are going in a very good direction in this regard. We have at least one film every month that is centered on a female character and if Shabana can push this trend, I will be personally very happy. If an action film with a female protagonist does well, it will open floodgates to lot of such films.”
About the film, which is the prequel to Baby, Akshay says, “There have been many spy movies but hardly any film has been made on making of a spy. Naam Shabana tells that story and that too of a female spy.” About Taapsee, he says, “I saw her movie Pink and she did a tremendous job. Even in Baby, when we saw her doing her action scenes, it gave us the inspiration of creating Shabana. Director of Baby and writer of Naam Shabana, Neeraj Pandey adds to Akshay’s point. He says, “There were seven-eight minutes of amazing scenes by her in Baby and we decided to expand on it.” Also revealing that there will be a sequel to Baby, he says, “ It (sequel) will happen for sure but right now it’s too early to talk about it and it is yet to decide who will play the lead — Akshay or Taapsee.”
The team also rubbishes the claim that the film is based on a real-life character.