New Delhi: With name, fame and expectations to deliver, Taapsee Pannu has also gained the confidence that she won’t be subjected to audiences’ “abuses” over her choice of films. With four Hindi releases — “Dil Junglee”, “Soorma”, “Mulk” and “Manmarziyaan” — and a Telugu film “Neevevaro”, 2018 saw a lot of the actor — but in all different shades.
Pannu believes last year was “crucial” as it made her trust her instincts even more. “It is the confidence that I have gained over the years. With certain films, you know that they won’t hurl abuses at me. With most of my films, I have that much of confidence. They may do lesser numbers than what we expect or people would talk. But they will appreciate the effort. 2018 was a very pivotal year for me about having confidence in my choices, which now I have. I know my path is such that till the time I’m surprising my audience, they are going to love me. The day I start becoming predictable, it will be my downfall. So I’m walking that path,” the actor told PTI in an interview here.
Pannu said taking up different roles in back-to-back films was a conscious effort. “I wanted to make sure that I do a lot of films because then I will have the fear of repeating myself. It was a planned decision of taking up different films every year,” she added.
The actor said, this year too, she will follow a similar trajectory. Her first release is mystery thriller, “Badla”, in which she reunites with her “Pink” co-star Amitabh Bachchan in yet another lawyer-client narrative at its centre. The film is an official remake of the 2016 Spanish film “Contratiempo” (“The Invisible Guest”) and is co-produced by Red Chillies Entertainment and Azure Entertainment.
Indian audiences have not been very receptive to the remakes of international mystery thrillers but Pannu said same story feels new when made for a different audience. “Especially, when a big change like gender reversal is part of the script, it changes a lot of things,” she added.
The actor plays murder accused Naina Sethi, the role which was originally essayed by Spanish actor Mario Casas. Bachchan will be seen as the defence counsel Badal Gupta, a part played by Blanca Martinez. Pannu revealed she that she watched the film in one go and knew she wanted to work in the Sujoy Ghosh directorial but with a caveat.
“I told Sujoy ‘I wanted to do that character and not the one that you asked me to do’. It was kind enough of the producer to agree to swap the gender,” she said.
The actor said as the film was already so “brilliant”, the director took his sweet time trying to better the story for the Indian audiences. “He said he needed time and that’s the excuse he gives for saying no to me initially before coming on board. As an actor, I was very excited to do this role, but as a director, he won’t copy-paste the story.” Reteaming with Bachchan may appear like cashing in on their success post “Pink” but Pannu said the megastar’s casting was an “organic” decision.
“I was signed on first, months later Sujoy and Bachchan sir came on board. It was just because I wanted to do that part, and for the other role we needed someone with the right age, look and feel of the character who could convincingly do that. Someone who could hold a frame with conversations for two hours.
“Not a lot of actors have that talent – in any industry for that matter. So Bachchan sir was the obvious choice as someone who could capture the attention for that long. It so happened that the combination looks interesting after ‘Pink’ happened,” she said.
The actor referred to the film as “an escalating rollercoaster ride”, which requires the viewer to take the brain with them to the theatres.
“It is not a film for those who don’t want to bring their brains with them. In today’s day and age, every good film has its audience. A film like ‘Total Dhamaal’ can do the kind of numbers it is doing because there’s no denying that there is an audience for them.
“I can understand that the audience who has done so much in their day that they don’t want to use their brain. They just want to unwind and relax without thinking. Fair enough, go watch that film. I have also done a ‘Judwaa 2’, I understand that. But the people who see entertainment beyond mindless films also are a certain type of audience. They will come,” she said.
This year, Pannu will next be seen playing an ISRO scientist in “Mission Mangal”, which is being touted as India’s ‘first space film’ and a sharpshooter in biographical drama “Saand Ki Aankh”.
“Mission Mangal” is a story that has got “nothing to do with the jingoism or chest thumping patriotism” that can be seen in Hindi films today, she said.
In “Saand Ki Aankh”, which will chronicle the story of world’s oldest sharpshooters Chandro and Prakashi Tomar, the actor shares the screen with Bhumi Pednekar.
Pannu said she is “scared” about the role as it is “the most difficult role of my career”.
“But I couldn’t let it go. I said yes when I was doing ‘Judwaa 2’. It has been a long wait. We are taking one day at a time. Bhumi and I know, this is going to be an extreme case. Either people are going to love us or they are going to laugh at us a lot,” she said.
“Badla” releases Friday.