We have seen Taapsee Pannu in Pink and that film changed the entire game for the actor’s Bollywood career. She finally made her mark in the industry and people started registering her presence. Now, Taapsee Pannu will be seen in Judwaa 2, an out and out entertainer, which is not something probably we have her doing except for a Chashme Baddoor in 2013. We got a chance to meet Taapsee and know why she took up Judwaa 2 and what she expects from the film.
Excerpts from the interview:
How did Judwaa 2 happen and why did you choose to be a part of it?
I had been in continuous touch with David Dhawan and he keeps on checking on me now and then.
He was continuously calling me and asking me what I have signed. He used to ask about me, but suddenly the frequency increased. Then, I met Sajid Nadiadwala at his office and we talked for about 30 to 40 minutes casually about what kind of films I would want to do. I was like, they are thinking something. I think the two were trying to know about my interests and whether I would want to do a film like Judwaa 2 or not, considering the films that I have been a part of. I would also want to be a Bollywood quintessential heroine occasionally. They asked me and then I was like, this was something that I was looking forward to. I don’t want people to stereotype me and before they do that, I wanted to take up something different. That’s why I was excited about Judwaa 2.
You are not new to this comedy light-hearted genre – how do you see yourself now – last time we saw you in such an avatar in Chashme Baddoor and now in Judwaa 2? How do you see yourself now?
I don’t know whether I am feeling more burdened or eased out. I am a little confused. Now, I can say that I am confident of taking a risk of venturing out of my comfort zone. I am confident that I can take a leap of faith. I have a feeling that my fans will now accept me doing something different.
How was it working with Varun Dhawan, who is known to be good at comedy?
His energy is really good. He is really positive on the sets and Jackie (Jacqueline Fernandez), too. They are positive people and they do not discuss who said what. It was more about helping each other how to better our shots. The equation has been really good between the three of us. A good thing about Varun is that despite knowing that he is a star now, he has no airs about it. He makes sure that he is accessible.
There were reports that Jacqueline and you initially didn’t gel along on the sets.
We didn’t get to spend much time with each other at that point. It was obvious that people would think that there’s some issue between us. There are only one or two scenes together and then there were songs. We only shot together at the last schedule of the film. Now, the people have been thinking that there’s too much love.
Do you share screen space with Salman Khan? How was it meeting him and how was the atmosphere on the sets when he was around?
Salman Khan is there in Judwaa 2. There is a scene which starts with me, Jackie and Varun and then Salman joins in, and then it’s between Varun and Salman. Salman and I are in the same scene but not in the same frame. That particular day when Salman was shooting, I was probably the quietest. I am someone who talks a lot. Everyone on the sets either knew him or have worked with him – it was only me who was new to seeing Salman on the sets. I was in awe of him and just observing – actually it was an eye-popping kind of a moment.
How do you define your cinematic journey?
I don’t have any complaints. My audiences have been kind to me. I always say that jiska koi nai hota uski janta hoti hai. I have no godfather in the industry. They have been considerate towards me knowing the fact I don’t belong to the film background. They know me for my work and not something else and that’s what I am happy about. Nothing to regret right now and I have been slow and steady.
You just mentioned that you had no godfather. How difficult is it to survive in the industry full of competition?
To break the initial glass was difficult. You constantly go out and tell your worth, which is difficult and awkward. The struggle hasn’t ended yet and I still have to face that. It’s difficult and it’s like every Friday is an examination for me. There is a risk of failure that I will have to start from scratch. It’s not a pretty stable sort of a surface for people like me, considering the background I come from.
We were just talking about the risk of failure. Does criticism affect you as an actor?
Yes, it does affect me. I want people to know me for my work rather than anything else. If they don’t like me for my work, then it does affect me. It does bother me.
You rose to fame with Pink. Recently, the film completed a year of its release and was remembered. What do you have say to about it?
That last one year has been memorable in my life. People not only realized my presence but also started noticing me and every step of mine. It was like suddenly from no image to having a strong image. It’s a big journey for which people take years, thankfully I could do it in a year. Before Pink, people hardly used to register my presence. It started with Baby but then it was stamped with a seal. It has been the biggest turnover for me. Now, you have a certain image – that of a flag-bearer of women empowerment.
Talking about Pink, recently Amitabh Bachchan had tweeted a picture thanking the whole team of Pink which had only men and he was criticized for doing so. What about that?
Knowing Sir (Amitabh Bachchan) and listening to his speeches, he has always been talking about us and it has been overwhelming. Before tweeting, he might not have given a deep thought. He might have thought that he should share the picture of people who were behind the camera and I guess that was his intention. Since everyone associated with Pink’s background team was male, it turned out to be looking that way.
Recently, you posted a picture in a bikini and Twitterati started trolling you and now even Ranbir Kapoor and Mahira Khan’s pictures are on a gunpoint of the Twitter users. What’s your take on that? Do you think people take advantage of the word democracy and get into the private sphere of the celebs?
I am very happy that my picture went viral. Everyone has the right to have an opinion. It’s good if anyone ask for opinions but I didn’t ask for it. I think Twitter or any social media platform is a place wherein people want to make their presence felt. People who have nothing else in life than to just write such nasty stuff to make their presence felt to the celebs who are inaccessible to them.
Do you think the word ‘nepotism’ is now overrated? Have you faced any issues because you don’t have any film connections?
It’s over-discussed, not over-rated. It’s there and you can’t do much about it, so network your way around it. The one disadvantage nepotism has that we compare our cinema to Hollywood and why are we not doing such kind of content and why don’t we have such talent; nepotism pulls it down. We are not able to explore new talent.
There are reports that you would be playing an international hockey player in Shaad Ali’s next. Is it true?
I am in talks, yes!
Also, there are reports that Kriti Sanon has replaced you in John Abraham’s adaption of The Invisible Guest. How true is that? Were you a part of the film or not?
Sunil Khetarpal has the rights of the film and I have been signed by him. As far as I know, I am still a part of it. First of all, the film has to be worked out a little, only then can we talk about the reports of who’s in and who’s not.
Coming back to Judwaa 2, are there any jitters, as the film nears its release?
No, not at all. I am actually excited that people have been very warm to us. I don’t know why but I am not at all scared.
On the ending note, give me some points on why should people go and watch Judwaa 2 in theatres.
1. It’s ’90s film and people would want to see it.
2. It’s going to be an out and out entertainer, which has not happened for a while now.
3. The songs, of course, and the casting is exciting.
4. See me in something that you have never seen. Come and see me in a bikini, if that’s what attracts you!