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      EXCLUSIVE! Akarsh Khurana On Rashmi Rocket: Taapsee Pannu's Level Of Commitment Made Her The Perfect Choice

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      Akarsh Khurana best known for Karwaan and Netflix's Mismatched, is gearing up for the release of Rashmi Rocket. The filmmaker recently got candid with Filmibeat about the film's and working with Taapsee Pannu. He revealed that it would have been difficult finding another actress "who would be willing to put in so much for the film."

      taapsee pannu, akarsh khurana,

      Talking about Rashmi Rocket and his previous projects, Akarsh told Filmibeat they have something in common. He said, "Rashmi Rocket for me is about the triumph of the human spirit, at the end of the day. It's about an internal journey the character takes, and in that sense, it is similar to the other projects I have done. The character is pushed forward against all odds and how the character responds shows their real strength."

      Here are excerpts from the interview,

      Rashmi Rocket has been creating a buzz for quite some time, but the trailer came out just a week ago and brought a major topic into conversation. How has the response for the trailer been so far?
      I think the response for the trailer has been good, and part of the reason is the topic it has brought up. People were not aware, what the film is about and it worked in our favour because now everyone has realised that it is more than just a sports film. Rashmi Rocket is tackling an important topic, and the film has gotten more attention because of it.

      People's obsession with the way a woman's body should look is being questioned in the film. Unfortunately, that is exactly what was happening with Taapsee because of the transformation she went through for the role. Did it ever cross your mind that Taapsee's first look might bring a response like that?
      The character in the film is fighting against a system and a process, but when we cause such a reaction from the public, one thing became very clear to us. It is not just the system in place but it's a mindset, and it was like art was imitating life. At such times, one realised how relevant the content is and perhaps just as important. It is sad, that such a mindset exists but it is also reality, and it is the mindset that needs to be changed even more than the process. I am hoping that our film can start these conversations.

      Talking about the subject of the film, it's about women and we have Kanika Dhillon and Lisha Bajaj contributing to screenplay and dialogues. But as a male director are there any special measures or precautions you took while working on the film?
      I think people should have an understanding of storytelling irrespective of their gender. Yes, there were a lot of women working on the film and a lot of the research was done during the screenplay writing by Aniruddha Guha, who comes from a journalistic background. He spoke to a lot of people - from athletes, doctors to lawyers and federation officials. Everyone possible to make sure we were not making mistakes and were being authentic.
      Fortunately, in all the projects I have worked on, there has been a large percentage of women working and its a healthy environment to be working on. On Rashmi Rocket, we had Kanika, Disha, my DOP Neha, it was good to be interacting with them on a daily basis because there was a female perspective always around, if needed. But most of the discussion took place on the scripting level and apart from that I don't think you have to take any special measures if you are a male director working on a female story. I believe not having to take any special measure is actually one of the best things that can possibly happen in a work environment.

      What made you feel passionate about Rashmi Rocket's storyline?
      Rashmi Rocket for me is about the triumph of the human spirit, at the end of the day. It's about an internal journey the character takes, and in that sense, it is similar to the other projects I have done. The character is pushed forward against all odds and how the character responds shows their real strength. The genre is different but, it's about people coming together and doing something bigger than themselves and that theme plays out in a lot of my work. But there was a very emotional and important story to be told, it was something I knew would be engrossing and engaging at the same time. I think that for me was the starting point.

      Rashmi Rocket: Taapsee Pannu Reacts To Comment Saying She Has 'Mard Ki Body'Rashmi Rocket: Taapsee Pannu Reacts To Comment Saying She Has 'Mard Ki Body'

      As for the casting, I was present for the trailer launch and we talked a bit about it then and Taapsee revealed she was part of the pre-production process, how did that change things for the story and the BTS environment? Also for you, as a director, you often work on characters without a face, but here you knew Taapsee would be playing that part, did it change anything?
      If you look at the other projects I have done in theatre, films or shows, I have kinda been involved in the writing and many times you have a face in your mind. At times, when you have someone in your mind, you are also writing for that actor. In that sense, I find that I can be very flexible. Of course, Taapsee was always involved and was also perfect because of the level of commitment she had. In terms of prepping for the part, I don't know who else would have done it like this. But it turned out to be an advantage, it would have been difficult to find somebody who would be willing to put in so much for the film. Sometimes, I do find myself writing for someone who is on my wishlist. When that works out, in the end, it works out.

      How was it directing Tapsee on set, after having worked together behind the scenes on the script?
      When you are working with someone, and you have already seen their tremendous amount of work, you are always a little intimidated. I felt something similar when I was working with Irrfan Khan during Karwaan. Like how are you doing to direct an actor like Irrfan, but he had put me at ease immediately because he was so accessible. The first couple of days when everyone was a little intimidated, he built an equation with everyone. That really helped make things very comfortable.

      On the other hand, Taapsee was already involved with the project at a very early stage so I ended up interacting with her a lot more. There was a certain level of comfort that had come in, when we did finally get on the set it was very easy to start working together. I think all the stuff that needed to be discussed had already been done in the prep and we were quite clear. The filming went smoothly, it was great working with her because she is one of the few actors who is quite trusting and doesn't mind looking at the monitor. She trusts your judgement because we ended up spending so much time before. We had ironed out the concerns and queries before we landed on the set.

      All your recent projects have been wholesome in one way or another, even if Rashmi Rocket has a strong message for the world, will it also have the sweet little moments?
      There are definitely lighter moments in the film and as a storyteller that is a very important element for me. Of course, because of the genre of the film perhaps there aren't as much as it would have been in another genre but I am happy to say that even in the middle of a serious court case there are elements of humour. It's something I thrive on, it makes everything reflective and life more memorable. It gives us some moments to take some liberty, life is funny even if it can be a bit dark. It also reminds us not to take ourselves seriously.

      Top 8 OTT Release Of October 2021: Sardar Udham, Rashmi Rocket, You Season 3 & MoreTop 8 OTT Release Of October 2021: Sardar Udham, Rashmi Rocket, You Season 3 & More

      Rashmi Rocket not only talks about physical appearances that do not fit into society's expectations but also the self-doubt that society brings out of us. What message do you hope the young audience watching this film takes home with them, boys and girls?
      Without being too preachy, which I don't like to do in my projects, I like the messaging to be very subtle. What I hope comes across in the film is the freedom to be who you are and who you want to be. Rashmi Rocket is about identity and no one can tell you, who and what you are. You are who you chose to be and you can't have any societal norms deciding that for you. I hope it is something that comes across loud and clear through our film.

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