Taapsee Pannu on her upcoming thriller Game Over and why she's a 'bankable' actor now
With Badla declared super hit at the box office, the year started off well for Taapsee Pannu. In her next film Game Over, a Tamil-Telugu thriller, Taapsee who plays a video game programmer, is shown suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She uses a wheel chair as a result of an accident that left her legs fractured, but is confronted with a situation where her house is invaded. She is seen defending her home from a mysterious identity. “The film’s story and screenplay was the best selling point for me. The character is not just traumatised but has got many layers to it. I enjoy playing multiple-layered characters,” says Taapsee.
For someone who doesn’t believe in “living in fear” it was tough playing the part. “Before this, you have seen me in fierce, go-getter type roles, but in Game Over I am a traumatised character who's on a back-seat, something I am not used to playing. For me, living in fear doesn’t come naturally. For someone who hasn’t had a single fracture, to be sitting on a wheel-chair wearing the cast for 60 to 70 percent of the film for 25 days was really tough. It takes very long to fix and remove the leg cast, so I would continue sitting in it for 12 hours except when I had to go to use the loo, eat and sleep. This patience doesn’t come to me naturally as I am a hyper-active person. But this industry and this profession has taught me to be patient (laughs out loud)," she says.
On the surface level, Game Over deals with home invasion and tackles concepts such as ‘anniversary reaction’ and ‘memorial tattoo’. “I had to google these things and I realised that it happens for real. We wanted to keep everything as is. The film’s writer (Ramkumar Kaavya) had some interactions with victims who have anniversary reactions. These memorial tattoos (made from the ashes of loved ones) happen worldwide,” says Taapsee. “For this film, one needs to take their brain to the theatre. This concept is not commonly seen in Indian cinema. People are speculating a lot about the story after watching the trailer that the characters in the video game might just be real...It is not that simple or else I wouldn’t have done the film. It is a unique concept which may or may not work,” she adds.
However, another thriller immediately after Badla wasn’t a planned move, says Taapsee, since Game Over was supposed to be made for South. “But when I read the script, I realised it is not a typical South film. You could make it anywhere. It was offered to me for South and I didn’t know that the makers would like it so much that they would want to release in Hindi as well, and that it will come directly after Badla,” says the actress, who will have four releases this year. “My genres were spaced out with Mission Mangal and Saand Ki Aankh. And even though Badla was a murder thriller, Game Over revolves around house invasion. So there is no similarity,” she adds.
Since Taapsee’s character is shown with multiple physical and mental issues, she would de-stress and relax in several different ways on sets, or on her off days. “She is shown having a mental problem. Her legs are fractured when the house invasion happens. I had to make myself realise myself that I was a victim. If I got a break for a day after a week or 10 days of shoot, I would make sure that I was going out with friends, or I would play Ludo with the staff. On my day off, I would go out in the morning and return in the evening and not stay alone, otherwise I would get stressed. If I was alone, I would watch some stupid comedies to feel light,” says Taapsee.
Game Over is director Ashwin Saravanan’s second film after Maya which was South actress Nayanthara’s first as the main protagonist. “After Maya, Nayanthara is known as the female superstar of Tamil cinema. It was a brilliant script. Ashwin was moved by my film Pink and he had called me with a project but it didn’t materialise then. I was pleasantly surprised when he came back to me with Game Over. For the first time, I experienced my director sitting with me for discussions and also taking my suggestions. I would tell him how I would react in certain situations and he was welcoming. I am very happy how the film has shaped up, now let’s see how the audience reacts,” she says.
Taapsee is one of the few actors who has her audience in multiple markets and she hopes that the boundaries continue to blur. “I hope that the boundaries blur and many more actors like me are able to take their films across which can help cinema to grow. I am really curious to know how Game Over fares so that I know if I have reached a stage where I can be called a bankable actor. My goal is to shoulder the film on my own and films like these will help me achieve it,” she says.
Taapsee’s next release is Mission Mangal (with Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan and Sonakshi Sinha) followed by Saand Ki Aankh, which is on the world's oldest sharpshooters (also starring Bhumi Pednekar). Further, she has announced two more films. “After Game Over releases, I am going to shoot Thappad with Anubhav Sinha and then a supernatural, sci fi thriller with Anurag Kashyap,” she says. And will she do another masala film like Judwaa 2? “I would love to do Judwaa 2 kind of mindless comedies but I don’t get such films. And I can’t be waiting for it forever,” she signs off with a laugh.
Updated Date: Jun 12, 2019 12:24:13 IST