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Taapsee Pannu: I had told Anurag Kashyap to not make me use a lot of Hindi Gaalis in ‘Manmarziyaan’ 

From film choices to opinions, Taapsee Pannu is unabashedly honest. The actress, who plays a new-age girl in Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyaan, which releases today, shares her experience about playing a character, who is ‘bratty, unapologetic and a patakha’. Excerpts…

Your character, Rumi, uses a lot of expletives. Do you think the audience is more accepting of heroines abusing on screen?
Yes, they are. The success of Veere Di Wedding says it all. Whatever people might say about the film, its box office numbers definitely did all the talking. As for me, I have an issue with abusing in Hindi. I can still abuse in English, but despite being a sardarni from Delhi, I can’t use Hindi expletives. So, I had told Anurag sir, ‘Don’t make me give gaalis in your film because it won’t come naturally to me.” Even though my demeanour may seem aggressive, you will be surprised that in the entire film, I never abuse. It’s just the body language and the way I talk, it looks like I’m using expletives. There are no social taboos. We have seen the other side of the woman for so many years. In the last few years, women have evolved so much within the industry. Their attitude has changed and men are slowly accepting it as well. That’s why it has become more refreshing and consumable. Geet (from Jab We Met) and all are done, this is one step ahead of Geet. Jo uska mann hai Rumi woh bolegi.

Today, the line between conventional and unconventional cinema is blurring. What do you think of this change?
The only reason behind this change is that our audience today has got access to so much international content that they are no more willing to accept films that show the same way to fight, romance and act. Their palette has started to change now and that has brought about expectations from our own industry. We need to do something different and are forced to change the kind of content we are making. Now, the difference is not between commercial and unconventional cinema; it’s between good and bad cinema. Everything depends on how much budget your film is made on, how wide is your release and then you leave it up to the audience. Even if a movie makes Rs 150 crore today, it doesn’t make it a hit. Today, an Rs 20-crore film can also be a hit. We have underestimated our audience for the longest time and it’s been proven.

Is this paradigm shift helping actors like you?
If you notice, I do balance my movies, but even my unconventional films aren’t really in the indie space. They have a commercial value going around with them. I’m not a consumer of indie content and I don’t understand these festival films which are extremely intellectual. A lot of people love doing them, but I don’t and I have no qualms in admitting that. I can’t do those films. I’m part of the little intelligent commercial audience and I’ll do films which might be offbeat but still have a commercial element. It can’t be boring where you don’t even understand the world it has created. It has to be entertaining; somewhere in between ekdum unconventional and ekdum nonsensical films.

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