Taapsee Pannu: Balancing Bollywood, southern film world

Taapsee Pannu considers herself 'lucky' to have been unanimously accepted in southern filmdom as well as Bollywood in a short span of four years since her cinematic debut in Telugu film 'Jhummandi Naadam'.


Currently, Taapsee has four films - two each in Hindi and Tamil - in her kitty.

"I just feel I've been wholeheartedly accepted in both the industries. Sometimes when you're popular in the south, Bollywood may not work out and vice versa. But I think I've been lucky," Taapsee told IANS.

She admits her Bollywood career took off quickly, but she 'never expected it'.

"I also never expected my first Tamil film 'Aadukalam' to win six National awards. Bollywood has responded as well as the south did when I debuted four years ago. Post my Tamil film debut, I was flooded with offers. I think the same fate is repeating with Bollywood," she said.

Taapsee made her Hindi debut with 2013 hit 'Chashme Baddoor'. She currently has 'Baby' and 'Agra Ka Daabra' in her kitty. In Tamil filmdom, she's awaiting the release of 'Vai Raja Vai' and 'Muni 3'.

The actress was busy working on four projects in 2014, but she didn't even manage to have a single release.

"The release of a film lies in the hands of a producer," she said, adding that the work she did last year was "creatively satisfying".

"I may not have had a release in 2014, but it was an eventful year because of the kind of work that was offered to me. That's precisely why I didn't worry too much about the release of these films because I knew I had the best in hand. I also learnt that you need a lot of perseverance and patience in this profession," she added.

For Neeraj Pandey-directed 'Baby', Taapsee underwent special training in the Krav Maga Israeli form of martial arts, while for 'Agra Ka Daabra', she plans to visit Uttar Pradesh to research her character.

With such diverse roles in her Hindi films, Taapsee agrees Bollywood has offered her meatier characters.

"Since I know Hindi, I've realised how easy and interesting it is to work in Bollywood. Not knowing the language becomes a bigger challenge and that's what I face in the south. This is one of the limitations why we (Hindi film actresses) don't get interesting characters there. But all that is slowly changing. The roles I play in 'Vai Raja Vai' and 'Muni 3' are proof to it," she said.

Although she plays a brief role in 'Vai Raja Vai', it has shades of grey, quite contrary to the bubbly roles she's played so far.

'Muni 3' took a toll on Taapsee, 'physically as well as mentally'.

"To spend nearly two years of my life on this project itself was very challenging. The role I play in the film required a lot of physical strength. And it doesn't necessarily have to be action, but the conditions we shot in and everything I had to do for this character," she said.

"I've done a lot of underwater sequences. During peak summer time, I was dragged along the sand and we shot under very strenuous conditions," she added.

But it's "Baby" that Taapsee is really excited about for it has given her an opportunity "to step into the shoes of a man".

"It's a privilege for female actors to perform stunts in a male-dominated industry, and to be doing it in a full-length action film is very special. I consider myself as one of the 'guys' in 'Baby'.

"This role made me do all that's expected out of a hero. It's one of the reasons why I wanted to be part of this project because it's not going to sideline me as a heroine," she said.

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