Exclusive: I actually chased this role: Taapsee on "Baby"

Taapsee Pannu is a name to reckon with down South, with films like “Aadukulam”, “Naa Raju” and “Mr Perfect” to her credit. In Bollywood, despite making a conventional debut with “Chashme Baddoor” in 2013, she chose to surprise with an action oriented role in “Baby”. She also has two more films coming up, each with an interesting plot. She speaks to Pinkvilla on her choices, her priorities and the challenges of working in Bollywood without a background.

In “Baby”, you’ve chosen to do an action-oriented role. Why did you pick the film?

It was very intentional on my part and I have always maintained that. I actually chased this role. A director like Neeraj Pandey would probably not think of a “Chashme Baddoor” girl for this role. So I made an effort to get it, because I am a self-proclaimed, unpredictable person. I want to be known that way.

Tell us about your role in the film. The film is shot in real locations, and Neeraj Pandey tends to research his films.

In the film, all of us play agents, part of an elite team on separate missions. I have scenes with Akshay Kumar, but not with Rana Daggubati and Anupam Kher. I think the only common factor between us all is Akshay, and Danny Denzongpa. Only in the end, one scene features all of us together after our missions are complete.

My action scenes don’t feature any other star, so that’s the exciting part. I have one on one fight sequences, and am not getting saved by a hero.

Is it intimidating to do action sequences in a film featuring Akshay Kumar?

It is a little bit intimidating yes, because people are used to seeing such finesse in his action! It’s a challenge to live up to that. And that’s what actually drove me to do an action sequence in his movie in particular, because it’s his movie. He is known as our action star.

You have seen considerable success is South Indian films. Now, with “Runningshaadi.com” and “Agra Ka Daabra” coming up too, is your move to Hindi films permanent?

When you start something new, you obviously give it more attention in the beginning. I am quite settled in South Indian films. Hindi needs more attention, but doesn’t mean that I will uproot myself from there. It would be stupid to uproot yourself from an established market when you know that people love you there.

I will continue to do South Indian films, just that I have added Hindi films to my profile and they have given me a fair chance so far. I will be choosier about the films I take on down South, since I have more options.

How did a Sikh girl end up acting in South Indian films?

See, the whole move of getting into films was not really planned for me. I come from a typical, middle class Sikh family, which is oriented towards studying, and a family who doesn’t even go to theatres to watch movies. They occasionally watch it on television. So it was quite an unlikely move to choose films in the first place!

I just took it up because I had a year to while away, as I was preparing for my MBA exams. I can never sit idle, and always need to do more than one thing at a time. So when lucrative offers came my way from South Indian films, I took them up. Although I didn’t take up acting as a profession initially, once I did get a chance, I wanted to make good decisions and not regret anything later.

The South Indian films were casting me with better names, so I made a debut there. Had I planned to take up acting, the story would have been different. I would have probably moved to Mumbai.

I was part of Miss India too, but I never really used it to my advantage. In 2008, when I started college, I sent my application online to make some pocket money. And that was such a huge mistake of my life! Why did I even waste my time there, when I knew I didn’t even want to get into modelling!

You don’t have a film background here. And the landscape in Bollywood is quite competitive, as opposed to South Indian films. Do you find that part difficult? Or do you think it’s a lot easier now, for talent with film connections, to make it in Bollywood?

That’s many questions rolled into one!

It is more competitive here than in South Indian films. Not because of how things are here, but plainly because there are many more fish in the market than down South. You don’t have that much variety. Otherwise, the competition between top 5-6 girls in South Indian films is as tough!

About making it in Bollywood, as an outsider, it’s not difficult to get your first film. You do get a film, if you have good looks, or are talented, or have both. But how good will your first film be, if it will ever release, you don’t know that always. So it’s difficult to make a mark. The challenge is to really choose what is worth doing. There’s a lot of work in this industry, and you can keep getting work.

If you are not from a film background, there’s not going to be any family surname that by default becomes PR for you. You won’t probably make a debut with a big hero. And then you don’t have big studios signing you up for 3 film deals. (I didn’t have that either, which I think worked to my advantage, as I didn’t want to get stuck with a deal).

Obviously the struggle becomes a little more, but from my perspective, as I had no plans to become an actor, all work that I get is a bonus! I don’t really think that I need to worry about competitiveness. The only thing that I need to keep in mind is to be patient, and that I will never get a second chance, if I choose the wrong film or make the wrong move.

Credits: Pinkvilla

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I can't see her making it big with that name. Weird.

She is so naive..being force to be an actress ..lol

This girl is beauty with brains, she's a qualified engineer who actually was part of Iphone app development. Way to go girl !

PV post this. TQ.

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