When doing the quintessential heroine roles didn’t work in her favour, Taapsee Pannu decided to turn the tables with heroic characters in content-driven films.
She says those who were once her detractors have now stood in line to get her dates and her time for double the price.
At the India Today Woman Summit and Awards here on Friday, Taapsee spoke fearlessly about the ways of the film industry towards women. She narrated, “I have been asked to slash my rates because the hero’s last film didn’t do well and the budget was limited, or the producer’s last film didn’t do well. So, I was told, ‘Either you walk out or slash your price’. How I worked around it was when I started with Hindi films, I made sure I am going to do whatever it takes to be not-replaceable. How? Have a name for yourself, do the kind of films you want to and do it in a way that they have no other way but to notice. And when you go back, the same people will wait in a queue to get you at double the price probably.”
It’s a reality that happened with Taapsee. “Without taking names, tables have turned and I have gone to the same people at double the price, and they stood in a line waiting for my dates, only because I decided to fight like a girl,” added the actress, unwilling to “compromise” for anything to get what she wants.
Her sentiment, she said, were in tune with the event presenter Vivel’s campaign Ab Samjhauta Nahin, which inspires women to question the social fabric that tends to stereotype and at times impede their lifestyle choices.
Taapsee says now she just smiles at the people who first turned her down. “I am warm and welcoming, and I have even invited them to my next film’s premiere,” she said, ahead of the release of her new film Naam Shabana.
Having featured in a string of films in Tamil and Telugu, Taapsee’s noticeable role in Hindi films came with Baby. Naam Shabana is a spin-off of that 2015 film, and Taapsee will be seen in some daring action scenes.
In between, she has garnered acclaimed for Pink -- the movie with a powerful message on how when women say no, they mean strictly no.
At this point, she says she won’t mind doing “girly” roles. “I like dressing up. Doing brave-girl, hard roles was my way of getting them to notice me. Now, they look at me and think, ‘Oh, she’s a pretty face, she can dress up too’,” she quipped.
Also, she has overcome a “fear of being stereotyped”. “In Bollywood, they’re seeing me as the girl next door, and I love that tag. But I’m trying to balance it out with my choice of roles. I’m really looking forward to playing a psycho-trippy woman, maybe with a split personality,” she added.