Soorma star Taapsee Pannu says 'I would like to have the same kind of filmography as Jennifer Lawrence'
Taapsee Pannu on Soorma: I don't want to get typecast in similar kind of roles as that will be the end of my growth
Taapsee Pannu is at a phase in her career from where things are only destined to go north. While Pink helped her fetch a seal of approval for her acting calibre, Judwaa 2 helped her gain commercial acceptance and a wider reach. The fruits of labour are now visible as she will soon be seen in projects helmed by avant-garde directors like Sujoy Ghosh, Anurag Kashyap and Anubhav Sinha. But, first up is Soorma, Shaad Ali’s biopic on ex-Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh.
The conversation with Taapsee happens over the phone as she is currently busy shooting for Sujoy’s Badla in Aviemore, Scotland. She is elated at the fact that Sujoy opted for Scotland as the location for his film. “This is the first time that I have been to Scotland and thank God that it’s been Scotland and not any other European city. I have been to a lot of European countries but never to Scotland. It’s actually outstanding. The sun is out and the breeze is slightly chilly. So, it’s all perfect.”
Soorma is slated to hit theatres this week and though the spotlight is not on her, Taapsee is excited nonetheless. So how difficult or easy is it for her to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a project when the focus is on some other character? “Actually it's slightly strategic. First of all, I should believe that the film has the potential to become a hit. When that box is checked, then I think if I have enough in the film for the audience to remember me when they walk out of the theatre. It does not mean that I need to have the maximum number of scenes or I need to be in the title role,” reveals the actress. Taapsee discloses the one reason which made her sign Soorma was the fact that she is also a sports enthusiast.
Most of the characters that Taapsee has done in the past, be it in Pink or Naam Shabana, they have a very earthy feel to them and are rooted in everyday life. She believes that it’s all because of her middle-class background. “I am not from a small town; I am from Delhi but still the city has those regular middle-class households who have nothing to do with fame or glamour of any sort. I guess somewhere it becomes easy for me to connect to such characters and that’s why it comes a little bit easy to me.”
She is also one of the few in the industry whose background is not rooted in Bollywood and thus pats her back sometimes for the journey she has covered till now. The nepotism word does not apply to her. “It’s a difficult journey and still is and I am prepared for it to be the same in the future too. I have kind of made peace with the fact that things are not going to come easily to me. There will be battles for me every day to get a film that I really want to do; get through to the filmmaker that I really want to work with unless they have already got a recommendation and have locked the cast.”
Taapsee was also in news last year over her comments on being objectified in Tollywood films. In an interview with EIC, she had ripped apart director K Raghvendra’s obsession with actresses’ navels. It’s been almost a year; did she face repercussion of any sort in its aftermath? The actress forcefully puts forth her view and mentions that it was interpreted in an incorrect manner.
“Honestly, when I gave that statement, it was not about me being objectified. I was extremely ignorant of what was happening in Tollywood and why it was happening. I had no idea how things happen in South and thus my statement was on the basis of that. It was perceived in a wrong way of being objectified or putting down a certain director or putting down a certain tradition. That’s how the roles of the girls are not just in the South but also in a lot of Hindi films. It was not signalling South in any way,” reasons the actress.
A look at Taapsee’s filmography also reveals that the actress has followed a certain pattern while choosing her films. For every Chashme Baddoor, there is a Baby and for every Judwaa 2, there is a Pink. She mentions that it’s all conscious. “I don’t want to give anyone an opportunity to slot me in a certain type of role. I feel that will be the end of my growth. I genuinely don’t believe in working in comfortable roles as nothing interesting comes out of it.”
For someone whose filmi repertoire is dotted with films like Baby, Naam Shabana, Pink and Soorma, Judwaa 2 definitely seems a digression. Knowing well that not much is required of an actress in such films, why did she give her consent to the film? “It’s true that there is not much to do in such films. The only purpose is to get into the 100 cr club because despite doing films like Baby and Pink which have been loved and appreciated, the audience doesn’t let them cross Rs 100 crore. The exercise is only to reach out to my wider audiences so that they see me, like me and probably give my other films a chance which I really want to do.”
Quiz her if the phase of constantly waiting for those phone calls is over or does she still wait for it, she mentions that the struggle is far from over. “I always wait for those phone calls because I am not a very socially active person. I wait for those messages or calls that one day some filmmaker will probably see something of mine and tell me that I liked this work of yours and would like to meet me to discuss something. I am very bad at going out and socialising because I don’t know how to approach people and ask for work.”
With films like Mulk, Badla and Manmarziyan in the offing, one also gets curious about her methodology behind her selection of films. So is there any inspiration behind all this? “One international actress with the kind of filmography she has and I would like to achieve the same would be Jennifer Lawrence,” quips Taapsee before signing off.
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