Tapsee Pannu, who earlier had no plans of acting, is now a prominent name in the film industry. If she has a hard-hitting film like Pink in her success bag, she has also done a glam role in frivolous rom-com like Judwaa 2. She likes to experiment with roles and not labeled as stereotyped. For Tapsee, acting is strictly professional and films are purely business. Meanwhile, Tapsee will be seen in her next rom-com Dil Junglee opposite Saqib Saleem on 16th February and she was in Delhi promoting the same. In a candid chat, Tapsee opens about her career, sexism and more.
1. You made your debut 5 years ago with Chashme Baddoor (2013) but it is only in the last 1-2 years that you’ve got recognition in Bollywood. What took so long to make a tight hold in the industry?
Tapsee: 5 years! Yaar itna bhi time nahi hua. See I’ll tell you that Chashme Baddoor was an ideal start. If I would have started with Baby then they would have thought that I am only there for doing out of the box role. Thank god I started with Chashme Baddoor, so people thought that there’s another mainstream actress. Because it’s a regular film so you don’t expect to be suddenly noticed. Then came Baby. Everyone thought that this is Akshay Kumar’s film; what she will do here. But that kind of role got me few eyeballs. Then Pink came and suddenly people took more and more attention because it triggered just more than a commercial success. So it becomes an ideal role and people thought that now she’ll do such kind of roles only, jhanda leke Mahila morcha types (laughs). Every film of mine has given a different turn.
2. After doing films like Naam Shabana, Pink does that appear in your mind that I would rather choose to do movies where the story revolves around me. What prompted you to do the film like Judwaa 2 which faced flak for misogyny?
Tapsee: It’s interesting that you asked me this. You know playing the role of a protagonist becomes inhabit after some time. For a second it does hit you that you’re not the protagonist of the film. Imagine five years before; I have never thought of doing a film. I have never thought that I’ll do the scripting with the Director, do the casting. I have faced a situation where I was the last person to come on board being the heroine after the budget has been decided. So now I feel it’s a huge leap. The reason I did Judwaa 2 so that I can capture more audience. And the film was a huge success.by this, I can draw an audience to watch powerful films also.
3. Since you’re talking about struggle, I would like to pitch this question to you; for the last couple month’s nepotism was the most used word. And the industry, in fact, the whole world saw a major revolution with #Metoo. Don’t you think it’s time to discuss the sexism existing in this industry?
Tapsee: In terms of a pay cheque, I cannot ask for more money like the leading men if my film doesn’t open with great success. The film is a business. Films are not the medium to showcase gender equality. Say for actors, Varun, Arjun of my age get paid according to their Friday opening regardless of who the heroine is and same in my case. If my film is not doing success, then I would not burden my producer for more pay. When my films will do good, I’ll ask for more money.
4. If I remember, you have voiced issue regarding the pay disparity earlier in South Indian film industry. (Since Gender Equality is no big deal in industry)
Tapsee: Now it is becoming better. Audiences have started to realize that bandi bhi lead ho sakti hai picture ki. Those who are doing female-centric films, obviously they would charge more money. You get paid according to your roles and I have no objection.
5. So there’s no point to debate on this.
Tapsee: See there is a difference. In fact bohot zyada hai. I’ll not quote numbers but it’s equal to 10 times. These kinds of situations still exist in the industry.