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Taapsee Pannu says ‘female actors were looked down upon’ in Bollywood: ‘Many said so much money couldn’t be invested in us as…’

Taapsee Pannu speaks about her comment about Vikrant Massey being misconstrued. She had recently said, "many actors did not want to work on Haseen Dillruba because the film's male lead was actor Vikrant Massey."

By: Entertainment Desk | Mumbai |
January 4, 2022 12:31:00 pm
taapsee vikrant harshvardhan haseen dillrubaHaseen Dillruba is streaming on Netflix.(Photo: Netflix)

Actor Taapsee Pannu, who appeared on a special actors’ roundtable for Netflix, had said that unlike the actresses who passed on the project, she didn’t ‘care’ about who her male co-star in Haseen Dillruba would be. Now, the actress has given a clarification on that statement.

In an interview with Gulf News Taapsee said, “My answer was interpreted into something else. What I said was that many female actors asked this question about who the male actor in Haseen Dillruba was. But I did not ask that question of who will be my male counterpart because I got cast first. The male role went to Vikrant. My character in Haseen Dillruba was the fulcrum of the film and other characters were cast on who they feel will complement the actor in that pivotal part … That’s how casting generally happens. The fulcrum part is cast first. But before me, several girls [actresses] wanted to know who was going to be the hero. Ideally, in our films that’s the first question that’s often asked. And they want to know that because budgets are set based on who’s the hero of a film.”

Taapsee has been quite vocal about pay parity in the Hindi film industry, and has chosen films that are female centric. About being a female actor in Bollywood, the actor shared that ‘as a species, we were sometimes looked down upon’.

She said, “As a female actor in Bollywood, our big scale was not that big anyway. As a species, we were sometimes looked down upon with many saying that so much money cannot be invested in us as returns are not guaranteed. Suddenly, that bane has become our boon because no matter how big a budget/scale is given to a female actor, it doesn’t get that big where I can’t meet the demands of returns. An OTT [over-the-top, streaming] release driven by a woman will now guarantee a good profit irrespective of its scale.”

Taapsee thinks that the advent of OTT platforms has become a level playing field for female actors in the Hindi film industry. She said, “During this pandemic, more female driven films have found an audience on OTTs. It has become a level playing field for us and our budgets are such that we will never go into a loss now and our films have become profitmaking venture for the producers now. Female-driven films are now in a safe zone. It’s the other biggies where the budgets are exorbitant which is now being questioned. Personally, I will push every boundary as an actor. The numbers we do are very less compared to big-hero film, but I am happy that my films’ returns are increasing every year. Now a producer can bank a certain amount on me as I guarantee returns. But the content and the director matters. Fortunately or unfortunately, budgets of a film are allocated based on the protagonist or the actor. It’s a sad rule. None of us like it, but we have to play by the rules.”


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