Taapsee Pannu started her journey in the south but with films like ‘Baby’, ‘Pink’, ‘Judwaa 2’, ‘Manmarziyaan’, ‘Badla’ ‘Game Over’, she has managed to learn the trick when it comes to securing her place in the industry as an A lister. And now she is all geared up for her next ‘Mission Mangal’ alongside a huge pool of star cast. In an interview with CineSpeaks, Taapsee reveals a lot about into her journey, her character, Rangoli Chandel and a lot more.
q. Taapsee, we are always blown away by your script choices. What do you think when you sign a movie and read the script?
See, I do films so that they become a hit otherwise why would I want to do a film. I select a film based on whether I would want to give money and 3 hours of my time on the movie. But yeah it’s just that when I hear a script, I judge it based on the audience’s perspective. Also I think whether I can show my filmography to my future kids or not (chuckles)
Q. You have done computer engineering as a part of your education. So in this process, did it help?
Yes it helped. Because a lot of words, theorems and all were already known and familiar so I didn’t have to struggle or memorize to do things.
Q. So did others ask you to explain it for them?
No to be honest, they didn’t but still I used to show off and tell it to them. (Laughs) But I don’t think they were too interested to hear it.
Q. When did you think you reached the position where you can make choices?
I think things started changing for me after ‘Pink.’ It was after that that people believed that I can also act and work. When people in the industry feel that the audience is now ready to see this particular ‘face’ quite often, that’s when an actor is in a position to choose. Otherwise not.
Q. Do you get negative advice regarding not to do things when you select commercially viable movies like ‘Judwaa 2’?
Ya ya. Of course. I get advised all the time. I will tell you one recent advice that I got. It was like “Taapsee, you should now do a dhinchaak film’ and then make an appearance in a special song in a big film. But I believe in ‘Suno apni, karo khudki.” So now you have the answer.
Q. Taapsee, after you complete a character, how much time do you take to detox yourself?
Aaah. That’s always difficult. I think about 70-80% gets removed but the rest does remain with you forever and changes something about you.
Q. Taapsee, do you think we overburden female actors with high and intense role expectations?
To be honest, I never looked at it as a burden. Somewhere down the line, I want my audience to expect from me because there are very few actors from whom the audience expect something. So I want and like that expectation bit to be honest and I don’t look at it as a burden.
Q. Taapsee, you have always been vocal bout objectification in the south. Here in Bolywood, there’s a section who criticize item songs saying it objectifies women whereas when a new item song comes which is a hit, the same people are appreciative of the content. How do you look at it?
Well it definitely helps you to understand the double standards present in the industry and it definitely helps us judge the face behind the ‘mask’. Industry is full of double standard people.
Q. Taapsee, what is more important for you – Box Office or critical acclaim ?
Box Office. That reveals one’s star power to be very honest.
Q. In 2017 and 2018, you did 5 films each and in 2019, you are doing 6. Does it get tiring?
I am very inspired by Akshay Kumar. He is always like ‘2 films kyun karne hai? 5 5 karo. ‘. He is quite inspiring for me. The only Indian actor to be in the Forbes list. I work a lot because I am very greedy of good scripts. I cannot let good scripts go out of my hands. Simple. I have a problem. Because I have worked hard a lot where if I say yes to a good script, I know it will happen to me. My management is going absolutely mad regarding how to manage all of them in 365 days.
Q. How do you actually say that you don’t feel like a ‘star’?
The day I actually get a secured box office opening, I will then feel like a star. I am sometimes made to feel like a star but then when I see my box office collections, I hold my horses once again. But I am genuinely looking forward to call myself a star.
Q. Taapsee, sometimes it also happens that the box office numbers are good but the film content is bad. What about that?
I think box office collections should be judged based on profit margin. If a film is made with a budget of 150 crores and it collects 160 crores, it can’t really be called a hit. Whereas if there’s a movie with a budget of 40 crores and it collects even 75-80 crores, it is a box office success. The margin is more important than the number.
Q. Who are the women in Bollywood whom you call a star?
Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt, Kangana Ranaut and Vidya Balan are ‘stars’ for me.
Q. What do you have to say about Rangoli Chandel and her insulting comments about you?
See, some people don’t matter to me. If it doesn’t matter to me, why shall I bother to actually respond? I will spend my time and effort on someone when it matters to me. Otherwise no. I also know how to give answers. But there’s a certain vocabulary to which I can never stoop down to. I just can’t.
Q. Taapsee, you are a human being. Is there any negative element that hurts you?
It depends on what time it has come to me. But I remember once during ‘Manmarziyaan’ release, I had replied to a series of tweets where my character was smoking and my character and religion was questioned. At that moment, I was a little vulnerable as it was my film and I had given everything to it. But otherwise, it’s pretty normal for me always. That became way too personal for me.
Q. Lastly, you are playing Shooter Dadi in ‘Saand Ki Aankh’. Usually actresses want to play a glamorous role but you are doing the other way round. Share a bit on that please?
I was actually searching a two heroine film. But I didn’t know that it is a ‘two dadi’ film. But after hearing the script, I loved it so much that I had to do it. Hopefully, everyone likes the film