I still feel like a struggler: Taapsee Pannu
The actor talks about her definition of success and her journey so far
She has been appreciated by critics and audiences alike for films like Pink, Naam Shabana and Judwaa 2, but Taapsee Pannu, who has been described as the "most powerful woman of the year" by a magazine, says she is yet to touch stardom.
"I still feel like a struggler because I need to really work hard and make sure that my Friday works for me. I still don't feel I am the one who will get the audience into theatres. I don't think I have that pull yet," says the actor, who started her career as a model in 2008 and made her acting debut with the Telugu film Jhummandi Naadam in 2010. Three years later, she stepped into Bollywood with Chashme Baddoor.
"The day I feel the audience says 'It's Taapsee's film, let's go and watch it,' that day I will believe I am a star, before that no," she adds.
She has featured in a myriad of genres like comedy, thriller, drama, courtroom drama and romance. Asked if she is trying to balance between genres, she says, "Of course yes, that is the idea behind mixing things up. If I keep doing hard-hitting films which people have loved me in, I feel people will stereotype me. They will label me as someone who does only these kind of not so mainstream cinema."
Taapsee says she does not want to get pigeonholed in a particular genre. "I don't want them to stereotype me because then the impact of these hard-hitting films will die down after a time as they would know what to expect out of me. So, the fun is to mix and match because then they won't know what you are coming up with next," she adds.
The 30-year-old actor is riding the burgeoning wave of films with female lead or co-lead roles like Baby, Naam Shabana and Pink. She feels confident that it is a trend going in the right direction and will continue.
Talking about the swift change from male to female lead actors in films, Taapsee says, "I am so happy to see each and every heroine trying to make an effort to do a female-centric film. I think it's a good way to begin to be open to taking risks and chances."
Tapsee says that when she made her debut, she only saw certain actors, who weren't termed as mainstream heroines, doing female-centric films. "But within four years, you can see such a huge change, where all the female A-listers today are doing at least one female-centric film a year which is so beautiful to see. And the result of it is that thought not yet at par with male-centric film, things are at least headed in the right direction," she says.
She also credits the audience for the positive shift. "We are giving the audience content and they are slightly opening up, I feel... At least they are giving us little bit of an opportunity. We just need to make sure to do good films as female protagonists so they continue to believe in us," she adds.