Last year was a turning point inTaapsee Pannu’s Bollywoodjourney. With a breakthrough performance in the Shoojit Sircar-produced sleeper hit ‘Pink’ -a small-budget film on consent with Amitabh Bachchan as its only A lister -the Delhi girl finally broke into the A-list. She will be seen next in the David Dhawan-directed ‘Judwaa’ sequel. Incidentally, David directed her debut film, ‘Chashme Baddoor’.
“I knew if I delivered a flop, I wouldn’t get five-six opportunities like industry kids do. I have lost films to star kids but I always knew nepotism exists here so I was ready to work harder than others,” she says candidly, pointing out that ‘Pink’ has made even those who had no faith in her acting abilities, sit up and take notice. “Now, I’m finally getting the kind of films I always wanted to do.”
The accolades didn’t come easily. When she was working down South, she remembers that a couple of films in which she didn’t have much to do flopped. She was blamed for their failure and tagged ‘unlucky’.
She admits that even her own publicists didn’t think she was good and would make it big, going by the responses they got from the industry. “When your own team tells you this, it comes as a big shock.I broke down for a while but then told myself that someone else can’t decide how good or bad I am and write me off. That’s when I decided to handle my career all by myself,” she reminisces.
She recalls how during ‘Chashme Baddoor’ she was treated as a newcomer at events despite having done 10 films down South. “I guess it’s because no one was backing me but after a point I stopped attending events and have only started going out again after ‘Pink'” she says.
After ‘Pink’ one would have expected Taapsee to opt for intense, solo starrers, but she sprung a surprise by diving straight into ‘Judwaa 2’, a two-heroine project, also starring Jacqueline Fernandez, with Varun Dhawan as their leading man. The other film she’s doing is an espionage thriller titled ‘Naam Shabana’, in which she plays the title role but which she had signed before ‘Pink’ released.
“I want to play roles that suit my age. I’m happy if I haven’t lived up to people’s expectations by signing ‘Judwaa 2’ because a lot of people never expected me to be a success either,” she quips.
‘Naam Shabana’, she points out, is a prequel to Akshay Kumar’s 2015 release ‘Baby’ and she remembers that when producer Neeraj Pandey told her she was playing the title role, she laughed in disbelief, never imagining it would happen so early in her career. “Coincidentally I gave my first shot for ‘Naam Shabana’ the day Pink released,” she smiles.
Her family is still getting used to her stardom. “My mom, after every film tells me ‘Ab tujhe acting aa gayi hai’. I don’t know which film she is referring to,” she laughs. She adds that her father isn’t as expressive but took his friends to see ‘Pink’ multiple times, so she knew he loved her work.
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