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Taapsee Pannu doesn't believe in mincing her words when it comes to expressing her opinion. At the same time, she also admits that she still feels like a struggler and fears how one flop film will bring her back to scratch.
We recently caught up with the spunky actress and what followed next was a freewheel chat about looking glamorous, the elephant in the room and much more.
Excerpts from the interview-
'When You Have To Revamp A Film After 20 Years, You Can't Show The Girls How They Were In The Previous Film'
Q. How did you manage to step into Rambha's shoes for Judwaa 2?
A. I managed to pull off this role because this wasn't the character which Rambha played. My character Samaira isn't the shy one. In fact, she takes the lead in her relationship between her and Prem. When you have to revamp a film after 20 years, you can't show the girls how they were in the previous film. I play a college girl who has a mind of her own. She is smart and not over-dramatic at all. She is pretty much like any other college girl that you see. There's still an element of girl-next-door even though it's glamorized in the songs.
'I Had To Work Hard Because I Was Next To Varun Dhawan And Jacqueline Fernandez'
Q. Your name is always associated with intense and content-driven cinema...
A. As an actor, people think that if we do intense, serious roles, then taking up something glamorous could be quite challenging. You have to look like million bucks in every frame.
I had to work especially hard because I was next to Varun Dhawan and Jacqueline Fernandez who have already established the fact that they are one of the hottest looking men/women in the industry. So, I had to live up to that standard. That was the only stress that I had in the film. Also, doing comedy isn't easy. It's a serious business. In today's times you just can't make people laugh like that. It has to be effortless.
'Many People Who See Me In Real Life Say That I Look So Beautiful, But It Doesn't Show On Screen'
Q. Did you take up Judwaa 2 to break stereotypes?
A. Comedy is something which comes naturally to me. I am a little goofy and comical person in real life. One of the reasons I wanted to do the film is to surprise the audience and avoid getting typecast. I don't want the audience to stereotype me.
When I did Baby, nobody (from the Hindi-film audience) knew I was a part of it or who I was. People were surprised with my character when the film came out. With Pink, people thought, it's only going to be about (Amitabh) Bachchan sir. Then things turned out to be totally different, and I and the other girls also got recognized in the film. Amit Sir himself was among the first to acknowledge it. But the flip-side of that recognition was that people thought I'm only suited for those types of roles.
We tend to consider only serious roles as good acting here. But I wanted to show that I can be glamorous, too, and act well at the same time. Plus, many people who see me in real life usually say that I look so beautiful but it doesn't show on screen (in her Bollywood roles). Now, I don't know whether to take that as a compliment or not. So, Judwaa 2 is a way for me to break all those stereotypes and show Bollywood audiences how beautiful and glamorous I can actually be."
'I Don't Have A Controversy To Get Me In The Limelight Again If My Film Flops'
Q. What's your take on the nepotism debate which has been going on since a lot time in the industry?
A. I am a living example of the fact that it's not impossible to make it in this industry. It is hard. There would a bunch of people who would still want to cast you because of your talent and nothing else. Yes, every Friday is a test for you. That's the reason why I still feel like a struggler and not like an A-lister. I know there is no one backing me. One flop film and I have to start from the scratch, that fear is always there, I don't have anyone to make a call for me, I don't even have a controversy to get me in the limelight again. So, all that stress will be there. You have to accept it and live with it. This is the rule of the game. Nepotism was not a shocker for me. Suddenly, people have started addressing the elephant in the room. It was a given for me when I entered this industry. But, I made my way around it".
Q. Then, why do you think that nepotism isn't a huge debate down the south unlike Bollywood?
A. In Bollywood, the females also come from film families, whereas in south, 95 percent of girls are outsiders. That is why nepotism is not a big debate because there is only one gender that comes from film families. Also here, media is bigger; people tend to ask more questions and in south people don't get into all this. Also, someone raised the question here and in south nobody has spoken about it till now. The elephant is still in the room there."
'I Am Very Happy That I Have Reached A Position Where I Don't Have To Do A Film'
Q. What about doing films down the South?
A. I am going to act in the South as well. I am very happy that I have reached a position where I don't have to do a film. I will do a film when I really want to do one regardless of who else is starring in it. I am very lucky to have come to this position and I will do a South film again very soon.
'I Am Getting Very 'Unsafe' Films Regularly'
Q. Are you open to doing short films and exploring web-space?
A. People tend to explore that space when they try to do something out of the box which is not a very common thing to get in regular cinema. But, I am getting all kind of roles. I don't have a reason to explore web right now. So, the day I don't get the films that I would love to do, I might. I am getting very unsafe films regularly. I am already doing that kind of out-of-the-box stuff in mainstream films.