Four and 1 / 4 movies shot. Two sports activities learnt. One award received and one viral video (“Biggini Shoot”) shared on Instagram. Also, three holidays overseas, together with one in Bollywood’s favorite vacation spot, the Maldives. Taapsee Pannu’s calendar has been full since May 2020, when the nationwide lockdown was lifted, till March this yr. No actor has been busier throughout the pandemic. But Pannu hadn’t meant any of this. She alternated between two dramas, Rashmi Rocket and Looop Lapeta—each of which required coaching in operating—after which instantly shot for Anurag Kashyap’s Dobaaraa. “I couldn’t delay the films any further,” she says. “I wanted to complete my 2020 commitments before something worse happened, which it did [the second wave].” The 16-hour workdays for 4 months, getting ready for one film and taking pictures for one more, took its toll on the actress who felt “spent physically and emotionally” even as she felt pleased with doing so many “female-driven films”.
The first of the 4 movies launched this week—her first OTT launch in Netflix’s Haseen Dillruba, a relationship drama a couple of fractured marriage. It is Pannu as the unconventional bride, Rani, who dictates the narrative with her impulsive methods. The film marks her second collaboration with author-good friend Kanika Dhillon, who additionally wrote Manmarziyaan. Both movies see Pannu’s characters being brutally sincere with their companions. “I did not try to put logic to what she [Rani] is doing and see if it is right or wrong,” says Pannu. “If I did that, I would screw it up.”
With Haseen Dillruba, her first launch since Anubhav Sinha’s acclaimed drama Thappad (February 2020), Pannu continues her streak of enjoying complicated main girls outlined by their independence. Her upcoming roster showcases the religion that writers and administrators have in her appearing abilities. Pannu, although, will solely be content material after she has earned the identical belief from producers too. “I have been vocal that I want to be a star who can also act,” she says. “I want my producers to feel that I’m a bankable actor. It is a work in progress, but I am getting there. I appreciate that they are slowly stretching the extent of money they can invest in my films, knowing that there is a certain amount that’s guaranteed.” Her subsequent venture, the Viacom 18-produced Shabaash Mithu, a biopic on cricketer Mithali Raj, exemplifies that. Pannu will resume taking pictures for it, after which transfer to Woh Ladki Hai Kahan?, a Siddharth Roy Kapur-produced film, additionally that includes Pratik Gandhi (of Scam 1992 fame).
Taapsee Pannu (left) with co-star Vikrant Massey in Haseen Dillruba
Pannu joins a rising group of actors who’ve accepted OTT as a viable various when theatres aren’t an choice. “It is way too long to stay away, a lot for a person who has been working practically every day,” says Pannu, hinting that a number of more movies of hers might go the OTT route. “You can’t be stubborn in such times. I want people to see my films. I cannot let the films go stale.”
With an extended checklist of titular, author-backed elements to her title, there are producers who now really feel that she is not second fiddle materials, like she was in movies like Judwaa 2. “I did that because I wanted to prove that I can pull off being a commercial heroine,” she says. With lower than a decade in Hindi cinema, shouldering movies such as Naam Shabana, Game Over and Saand Ki Aankh, Pannu is conscious that she now has an “image”. And she isn’t complaining. “It is one where my audience believes that if I am in a film, there will be something substantial in the story,” she provides. “I don’t do the conventional offbeat cinema. I do films I want to see as [part of the] audience. I have chosen the middle path where I try to marry the world of commercial and offbeat.”
As she embarks on that path, she additionally intermittently exhibits that she is a socio-politically engaged artist by way of her social media. Early this yr, the actress additionally got here beneath the scanner of earnings tax officers. Pannu was taking pictures Dobaaraa in Pune when the IT division carried out a raid on her properties. She denied the allegations and gave a tongue-in-cheek response to the saga, tweeting, “Not so sasti anymore”, referring to a jibe made by Rangoli Chandel that Pannu was an inexpensive various to her sister, Kangana Ranaut. For Pannu’s followers and supporters, the raids have been payback for her opposition to the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and solidarity with farmers. “When you know you haven’t done anything wrong, you need to stand your ground,” says Pannu. “I can’t change the person I am, it’s too late for that. You can’t instil fear in me like this”—a line befitting the numerous highly effective heroines Pannu has performed on display.