Tamannaah Bhatia is chasing films with individual merit and not pan-India projects. The actor, who shot to nationwide fame with Baahubali — a film credited to breaking geographical barriers and igniting a series of pan-India films — believes one should be authentic to the region they are setting their story in and not manipulate it to reach a wider audience base.
In an interview with indianexpress.com, Tamannaah says when one carefully engineers a pan-India project, the pressure is to cater to all regions, which is an impossible task in a country as diverse as India.
“I am not engineering a pan-India film and I don’t think that kind of a thing can ever work also. You can release a film in multiple languages, but you can’t create a film from that standpoint that, ‘We will make a pan-India film.’
“It doesn’t make sense because Indian culture is so diverse, you can’t encompass all the cultures in one film. So, you have to be rooted to whatever culture you decide to showcase,” the actor adds.
Instead, Tamannaah says, the focus should be on searching and chronicling authentic Indian stories which will connect with people. For the actor, her recent outing Babli Bouncer, which features Tamannaah as a rural girl who moves to Delhi and becomes a lady bouncer.
“I feel it’s important to tell Indian stories. That helps in building a connect all over (because) it is authentic to us, it is a world we understand. So, when I play a character like this, of a girl from rural India, I think that will definitely touch people more.
“There is a power in this that be used and can be very effective. But I don’t take up movies because they are pan-India or not pan-India. I think of them as individual pieces of content which should be exciting, which should show a facet of me which hasn’t come out before,” she adds.
Babli Bouncer marks the first collaboration between Tamannaah and director Madhur Bhandarkar, known for helming acclaimed dramas like Fashion, Page 3 and Chandni Bar. The actor says she didn’t realise she would “get this lucky” to work with the filmmaker in a project which is different from what is known for.
“When I heard the script, there was no question of ‘Oh wait’ because it was too much fun. It is a dream role for any actor. He doesn’t look at his female-led films as ‘female centric films’. He has looked at his female characters as fully rounded people, they are not someone’s girlfriend or an accessory. This film has that. It is a fun vibe which is organic,” she adds.
The film’s concept, story and screenplay are credited to Amit Joshi, Aradhana Debnath and Madhur Bhandarkar. Produced by Star Studios and Junglee Pictures, Babli Bouncer will release on September 23 on Disney+ Hotstar in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.