I was written off by everybody in the south: Taapsee Pannu

Taapsee speaks about her upcoming releases and explains why she had to switch from the south.

Published: 01st February 2017 02:06 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd February 2017 08:42 AM   |  A+A-

Taapsee Pannu (File | EPS)

Express News Service

Seven years since making her debut as an actress in a Telugu film, Taapsee Pannu continues to seek her own identity. Having worked extensively in the south, the actress has gone on to do films opposite some of the country’s biggest stars, including Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar – and yet, she’s yet to achieve stardom.

“Even today I’m considered as a newcomer. People always refer to me as an ‘upcoming star’ or a ‘rising star’. I started out with films in the south, and then just when I was slowly getting a foothold, I decided to switch to Hindi films, where I had to begin from scratch all over again. So even though I have been here for six years now, I’m still considered as a newcomer. One day, I just want to wake up and feel like a star,” Taapse shares.

In an exclusive chat with City Express, Taapsee was brazenly honest, unbelievably grounded and extremely articulate in her thoughts and expressions.  Having done intense films such as Baby and Pink, Taapsee will be doing a romantic-comedy in Amit Roy’s Runninshaadi.com. The film, interestingly, was shot before Baby and Pink, but wasn’t released earlier as the filmmakers felt that it may not be the right time to release it since both Amit and Taapsee were ‘newcomers’.

“In a way, it made sense because when you know you have the right product in your hands, you wouldn’t want to release it too soon. I owe a lot to this film because it was on the sets of Runningshaadi.com when Shoojit Sircar (director of Pink), who’s producing this film, saw an edit of my scene and decided to cast me as Meenal Arora for Pink. He did not know who I am or anything about me, but he took that decision based on what he saw,” the actress explains.

Taapsee admits that jumping into Hindi films after spending years in the south wasn’t an easy task. “Though Hindi is my native tongue, it was suddenly awkward to do a film in Hindi, since I was used to doing films in Tamil and Telugu. I had dubbed my own voice for my films in the south, so to suddenly speak in Hindi felt a bit weird. But it was during RunningShaadi.com that I discovered my true potential, where I realized how much I can play with my language and nuances,” she observes.

Taapsee plays a Sardarni in the film, in a role that the actress says, is exactly how she’s like in real life. Taapsee also says the film attempts to break stereotypes about the portrayal of Sardarnis and Delhi girls.

“North Indian girls are often portrayed on screen in a very clichéd manner. There is a certain notion about Sardarnis and Delhi girls. They are always shown as these loud, abusive and melodramatic girls. I’m a Delhi girl who hails from Punjab and believe me, we are not at all like how it’s shown in the movies. So in this film, I made sure I stayed to my true self,” Taapsee explains, passionately.

RunningShaadi.com will clash with another of Taapsee’s film, Ghazi, a trilingual film. While she has a much shorter role in Ghazi, Taapsee says that it was extremely special. “I play a Bangladeshi Refugee in Ghazi. My role is more of a special appearance since it’s a war film based on the navy during the 1971 war.  There’s not much scope for women characters in such a setting. But it was a challenging role and I’m looking forward to see how people receive it,” she reveals.

With films like Baby, Pink and now Ghazi – Taapsee has been the go-to person in doing intense roles on films dealing with serious subjects. The actress, however, wants to do a few lighter roles as well and is keen to show her versatility as an actress. “I don’t want to keep doing the same thing, just because they have been successful. I don’t want to take names but there are a few actresses out there, who get comfortable doing the same kind of movies over and over again. I want to keep experimenting and pushing my barriers,” Taapsee expresses.

And while she’s busy with Hindi films, Taapsee says she hasn’t completely gone away from doing films in the south. The actress, however, admits that she wasn’t treated very well in the south by certain people during her stint in films here.

“It’s a bit funny, because when I was here, they had written me off and were extremely mean to me. And now that I’ve done a few films in Hindi, they ask me why I don’t do Telugu films anymore,” she quips, sarcastically.

When asked to elaborate, she says, “People from both within and outside the industry had written me off here. I wouldn’t like to take names but some people had dubbed me as ‘bad luck’. They said I had ‘Iron Legs’ and were quite mean to me. People in the south are extremely auspicious, and at the time, doing a film with me wasn’t very auspicious for them. It hurt because I worked very hard, dubbed my own voice and put in so much effort, only to be treated so harshly.“

Despite facing such unpleasantness, Taapsee doesn’t hold any grudges and will be doing a Telugu film soon. “At the end of the day, Telugu cinema made me a star overnight so I owe a lot to this industry. It’s only fair that I give back. Having said that, I won’t be doing roles where I’ll have just three songs and five scenes anymore. I need something more substantial than that and I don’t mind doing any film – big or small – as long as it offers better characters,” she says, with brazen honesty.

Taapsee has five releases in 2017, including Naam Shabaana (prequel to Baby) and Judwaa 2 (in which Salman is rumoured to play a cameo). “Hopefully after this year, I’ll finally be a star and not a ‘struggling newcomer’ anymore,” she adds, with a smile.

 



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