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My USP is that people can relate to me: Taapsee Pannu on what sets her apart in Hindi cinema

In a session held today at the ongoing golden jubilee edition of IFFI, she discussed her criteria for selecting scripts with moderator Madhureeta Mukherjee.

Sukhpreet Kahlon

At the packed Maquinez Palace, one of the screening venues for International Film Festival of India (IFFI), actress Taapsee Pannu enthralled the eager audience with her charm and simplicity on 23 November. In a conversation session titled ‘Women in Lead’, the actress recounted her journey in cinema with the moderator Madhureeta Mukherjee.

From reluctantly making her foray into acting to becoming one of the most sought after women in Hindi cinema, Pannu revealed that as an engineering graduate, she decided to give up the campus placement job offer from Infosys in order to pursue acting as just an experiment. While her beginnings into films was a success with her initial films, she did face her share of lows subsequently and found creative ways of taking her career in new directions.

Known for her unconventional role choices, her filmography spans mainstream commercial films Judwaa 2 (2017) to offbeat films like Pink (2016), Mulk (2018), Badla (2018), and the most recent Saand ki Aankh (2019). In the session, she discussed her criteria for selecting scripts and said that while she always thinks about whether or not people will spend their hard earned money on watching a particular film chosen by her, she also thinks about the impact that her role will create saying, “I want the audience to take me home with them.”

Mukherjee and Pannu

This was the reason that she chose a film like Baby (2015) even though her role was a very short one. Nonetheless it was an important one and put her on the map of Hindi cinema.

Refreshingly, Pannu said that her being an outsider was actually an advantage for her as it made her free to pursue her own choices. She said, “I have an edge as an outsider. I don’t have a lineage to protect."

She added that she had etched out an identity for herself amidst the crowded space in the Hindi film industry and said, “I decided to create my own space. No one can claim a major part in my success.”

She elaborated saying, “My USP is that people can relate to me. I see myself as a regular, average woman,” highlighting her penchant for playing relatable characters on screen.

Her latest release, Saand Ki Aankh, saw her playing a much older woman along with Bhumi Pednekar. At a time when most films are opting to make their actors look younger for the roles, this was a rather unique and bold choice.

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