Her game is on point

Neither language nor genre can be impediments for Taapsee Pannu who comes across as viscerally real in all her outings, writes Manigandan K R

Actor Taapsee Pannu is on a roll. The actor, who has been in the limelight in Bollywood ever since her film Pink released, has now made a comeback to the Tamil and Telugu film industries with Game Over, a thriller in which she plays a gamer who is relegated to the wheelchair after losing her legs. 

To return to an industry with a film that is entirely riding on her shoulders is no easy task and Taapsee is well aware of that. The actor doesn’t mince words when it comes to voicing her opinions. She opens up on a number of issues ranging from the superstar tag to the gender pay gap in the film industry to the efforts she had to make for playing the demanding role in Game Over. Excerpts follow…

What was it that made her take up her latest bilingual ‘Game Over’, which has just released in Tamil and Telugu?

I  have known Sashi (the producer of the film) for over seven years. We have been good friends and he occasionally calls up to chat but that has been more as a friend. This one time, however, he called me up and said he wanted me to read a script. He told me about director Ashwin Saravanan and pointed out that his earlier horror film Maya, featuring Nayanthara in the lead, had been a hit. I told him that I did not want to do a horror film and Sashi said that this was not a horror film but a thriller.

I read the script and called Sashi immediately to tell him that I would do it. That was because I had never read a script like this in any language. For me, half the job is done if I know the director’s work. As far as the story of this film is concerned, it is about how a woman, who has lost her legs and is alone at home, encounters a situation where there is somebody who is trying to break into her house and kill her. Every gamer has a psychology. He or she will always want to do better the next time she plays the game. So, what happens when her gamer instinct takes over when her home is being invaded is what Game Over is all about.

On her experience of working on the film…

Honestly speaking, prior to working in this film, I had not even got a fracture in my life. For this film, I had to sit on a wheelchair for a very long time. I would have to sit for anywhere between 12 to 14 hours a day on the wheelchair. What made it even more difficult was that there were rigs that were mounted on my wheelchair and cameras were placed on them. So, I had to wheel around with the rigs and the cameras, all of which were very heavy. This was like doing a gym session on the set.

What is your take on appearing on screen without make-up?

All my directors seem to hate me with make up on screen. In Hindi, I have done make-up in only one or two films till now. They don’t want me to do make-up and I am comfortable with it.

Why is it that audiences here don’t get to see you more often in Tamil and Telugu films?

They are not offering me films. It is as simple as that. You can only choose from what you get. How will I choose if they don’t give me?

Is Taapsee a pan-India superstar?

No, no, I am not a superstar. I am only an actor. Superstar is only one. Stars, I feel, are ones who guarantee you a certain opening. The day I feel that there are audiences walking into theatres buying tickets for a film because it has Taapsee in it, that day I think I will be a star.

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