Updated: October 15, 2021 6:29:19 pm
Actor Priyanshu Painyuli says he knew nothing about gender testing for female athletes until Rashmi Rocket came his way. “I asked Akarsh Khurana (director) if we were taking a cinematic liberty, or this was true. He told me to Google it,” Priyanshu said.
Priyanshu plays actor Taapsee Pannu’s husband in the sports drama, who becomes her strength when she challenge the archaic system. His character, Gagan Thakur is an army man, another reason that attracted him towards the film. “It was all the more special because coming from an army background, I got to play an army officer for the first time,” Priyanshu told indianexpress.com.
Priyanshu has been grabbing eyeballs for some interesting projects across genres in the last one year — from playing the main antagonist in Chris Hemsworth starrer Extraction, to the colourful and flamboyant Robin in Mirzapur 2. Now with Rashmi Rocket, Priyanshu says he never saw it as a female-led plot, because the story is all that matters.
“You don’t look at whether its a woman-centric film or a child is a protagonist or an old man. It can be about an ant. The story becomes the hero, and then everybody comes around it. Here, there’s a girl whose story we’re trying to tell. Everybody becomes a protagonist in some sense. But for me, trying to tell a story like this was special. I think we are changing the entire concept of one hero or male hero,” the actor said.
Rashmi Rocket also stars Abhishek Banerjee as a lawyer who fights the case of athlete Rashmi Vira when she gets banned for not having the conventional feminine body-type due to high testosterone levels. The cast also includes ace actors like Supriya Pathak, Chirag Vora, Manoj Joshi and Supriya Pilgaonkar.
Priyanshu is elated with the compliments coming his way for shaking a leg for the first time onscreen in the film’s recently released song “Ghani Cool Chori“. The actor added that the film brought together a great team, including Taapsee Pannu, with whom he was collaborating for the first time.
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“I say in the film Taapsee is playing Rashmi, but in real life she’s the rocket, she’s a fireball. Of course she’s great with the craft and you see her commitment. There’s so much hard work she puts in, that it inspires you in a way. I also had to undergo a bit of a training to build myself as an army guy. I used to go for a walk in Bhuj at 9 in the morning and I saw in Instagram stories that Taapsee had finished her workout at 5. And she’s too fun to be with. You can talk to her about anything in the world. We struck a great friendship from day one. I’ve always admired the kind of films Taapsee has done.”
Priyanshu was roped in by director Akarsh Khurana with whom he goes back a long way. “I was excited to work with one of my oldest friends, Akarsh. It was a difficult film on paper but it went with a lot of ease because of people like Akarsh, Taapsee and Abhishek. I was very comfortable. The whole team looked like a great set-up,” he added.
Rashmi Rocket has elaborate courtroom scenes with major focus on Abhishek Banerjee’s monologues and legal procedure. For Priyanshu, the entire cast was placed in the frame in such a way by director Akarsh Khurana that it felt like a real courtroom. “With accusations happening, fingers being pointed at each other, somewhere it felt theatrical. When Abhishek finished his monologue, everyone clapped even before they could say a ‘cut’.”
Rashmi Rocket releases on ZEE5 on October 15. Though Priyanshu asserted that it would’ve been great if the film came out in cinema halls, but an OTT premiere will give it a larger reach.
“This is a story that needs to spread far and wide. If you release it in theatre and few watch it, then what’s the use? It’s great that theatres are reopening but it’ll take few months for 100 percent occupancy. And it’s a great time for our story to come out. After the pandemic, we are really looking forward to some inspiring stories, which is what our film is all about,” Priyanshu concluded.
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