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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Taapsee Pannu on K. Raghavendra Rao controversy: I wasn’t making fun of anyone

Actor Taapsee Pannu, bashed online for allegedly mocking the Telugu film director who launched her, says that she did no such thing, and that both she and Rao are laughing about her remarks.

regional-movies Updated: Jul 13, 2017 17:15 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Actor Taapsee Pannu made her acting debut in Telugu film Jhummandi Naadam (2010), directed by filmmaker K. Raghavendra Rao.
Actor Taapsee Pannu made her acting debut in Telugu film Jhummandi Naadam (2010), directed by filmmaker K. Raghavendra Rao.

Actor Taapsee Pannu has made her name in Bollywood with hard-hitting roles in Pink (2016) and Naam Shabana, but it was quite different in her debut film, Jhummandi Naadam (2010), directed by K. Raghavendra Rao, a legend of Telugu cinema.

The actor has been roundly bashed on social media for referring to Rao’s penchant for “showing [the heroine’s] midriff and throwing fruits and flowers at it”, in a chat with the comedy group East India Comedy. This was said as part of Taapsee’s anecdote about her first film, but this got angry fan reactions like “ungrateful”, a “hypocrite” and a “backstabber” for supposedly forgetting her roots and taking a dig at such a veteran.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Taapsee says, “Er, what did I take a dig at? He’s known for that. I have stated a fact, and if you’re taking it in a derogatory manner, that’s your problem.” She says, “Trust me, him or me, both of us are really unperturbed by whatever I have said, because I’ve seen the video and he has seen it, too, along with his family, and we are all laughing at it.”

Maintaining that she didn’t say anything “disrespectful” about anyone, Taapsee quips that the only person she “disrespected or made fun of” in the entire chat video was herself. In it, she had said, “...When my turn came, maybe because my midriff wasn’t quite ready, they threw a coconut on me! I don’t know what is so sensuous about a coconut hitting my midriff!”

She tells us, “And I still stand by all of that. Whatever I mentioned there was not to make fun of anyone expect me, and it was purely on the basis of facts. I didn’t say anything derogatory or disrespectful to anyone. If people are just going to sit there and wait [for a chance] to get hurt, so they can start throwing shit around at other people, you can never stop them.”

Taapsee, who is doing a Telugu film (titled Anando Brahma) after several years, adds that as soon as the negative reactions surfaced, she made it a point to clear the air with K. Raghavendra Rao. “The only person I was concerned about was my director and his family, and I got [a] good response from them — they told me that they all sat together and saw the video, and laughed at it, and I guess that’s all that matters,” she says.

She might have more to say on this subject, but Taapsee is biding her time. “Until now, I haven’t really gone out and commented on it, and there’s a reason I’m waiting for the point [when] everyone will hear what I have to say, rather than me saying the same thing ten times to ten different people,” the actor says. “Right now, I’m just sitting back and seeing how people can have so much of hatred in them that they really want to make so much of negativity out of nothing.”

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First Published: Jul 11, 2017 18:29 IST

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