An electrifying smile, a pair twinkly eyes, Taapsee Paanu is that peppy-pretty girl-next-door who can break a million hearts. And also give all the top actors a run for their money with her excellent acting skills. So, what’s new in her life, finds out Ankita Lahon
A wave of change sways in the Indian Cinema. A set of new age Bollywood actors are taking the front seat, supported by good content and incredible talent. Of them is Taapsee Pannu – vivacious, dauntless and supremely talented. After a commendable performance in her recent release Manmarziyan (2018), Taapsee is all set to rule 2019 with four notable movies. Starting with Badla which is soon to release, there’s a Mission Mangalam releasing on 15th of August, a bilingual (Tamil and Telegu) movie and in the last quarter, there’s Sand ki Aankh.
In her recent visit to Pune, the actress was seen interacting at an event, promoting her badminton team Pune 7 Aces. As she glided across the room full of guest and delegates, I caught up with her to discuss her hopes for the Pune team, her upcoming movies and to know her more than as the PINK star.
Talking about the new thing in her life, Taapsee said, “I have always had a strong inclination to sports. I was quite an athlete in school, but to own a team was never part of the plan.” So, how did it happen? “Well, just like acting happened, owning a team also sort of happened. About a year and half ago, the idea to take my love for sports a step ahead occurred and thus Pune 7 Aces became a part of life. If I couldn’t play at least I’d like to motivate someone in some way.”
Not everyone (accept for her ardent fans) know that Taapsee Pannu is a Computer Science graduate from the Guru Tegh Bahadur Institute of Technology. She even worked briefly as a software engineer. A chanced audition for Channel V’s Get Gorgeous paved the route to the glamour world for the this Delhite.
After a string of South Indian movies and critically acclaimed Hindi Films, how does Taapsee sees herself as an actor? “I see myself as someone who is learning something new every day in the craft of acting. Because I’m not a trained actor, I feel a drive to keep working on my competency constantly.”
“I practice the same in my personal life too; I don’t shy away from trying new things. That is how I got into acting as well. I will never say no to anything without really giving it a go. I believe that there’s one life and so much to do within that. The passion to keep going pushes us to effort more,” revealed the actress.
Taapsee has mostly done hard hitting films, either with disturbing social issues as their vein or complex human emotions. Her last movie Manmarziyan was not only a commercial success but received fair critical acclamation as well. Her performance in both the movies Mulk and Manmarziyan let critics predict a glorious future for the actress.
When asked about her experience of working with a fantastic director such as Anuraag Kashyap, she said, “One might think that hings on Anuraag Kashyap’s set would be quite high strung but it’s not! We all had so much fun working with him. Marmarziyaan was a refreshing change for me as well as him (I guess) because with this movie both of us tried something different. And as far as Anuraag is concerned, he is a very lively person, quite spontaneous and I think I connect to that facet of his personality.”
One thing that really struck me was how strikingly less of a star and more of a normal human Taapsee is. There was no air of any star tantrums or arrogance in her. Perhaps that’s the reason of a growing fandom- excellent work and humble attitude. But then, like any other actor, she also has tasted her share of criticism. “I don’t mind people who pay to watch my movies analysing my performance. I think when one decides to become a public figure, one sort of signs up for the love-hate treatment especially by the fans. However, I don’t really think that fans slam you, rather I try to find the suggestions and advices hidden in their critical analysis.”
The actress has always been perceived as a brave, concrete, new age, vivacious and sporty individual. Having been so closely associated with a social issue in her breakthrough movie PINK, does she think things have become better since then?
“Pink was the first step to discussing the topic of rape and sexual harassment in a public medium, where people could experience the horrific ordeal together and talk about it. The film incited discussions on such matters and that’s what we wanted to do with the film. We cannot really change people through a film, any change needs to come from within. But we can start discussions at least, and I think that’s what this film did.”
“… And with #MeToo movement things have shaped up in our industry as well. I’m happy that it caught up here, but it still got a long way to go. Definitely, things have changed. I see that people are a lot more careful of how they talk and behave when they are on sets now. The movement has made people conscious of their behaviour at some level which is a great relief.”
Coming back to the Pune Aces team, Taapsee said, “The team has a great line up of both experienced and new players. And all the players have worked very hard. This year was good if not great for us. Yes, we wanted to win the cup but unfortunately could not but that doesn’t mean we aren’t really capable. I think we ended up in a decent position, enough to push ourselves further and believe that we can do better. We have amazing, well-established players in our team from the badminton world who knows what they are doing. With coming years, the team will work together towards a better result every year. We have made an impact in our first year and I think people will look forward to our performance the next year.”