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Verve People
January 19, 2017

Taapsee Pannu Is Quietly Carving Her Own Niche in Bollywood

Text by Zaral Shah, Photographed By Taras Taraporvala , Styling By Shweta Navandar , Assisted by Anuradha Gandhi. Make-up by Nicky Rajani. Hair by Richard Wilkinson, Toabh Talents.

The feisty actor shares notes about what makes her a free spirit, on and off the screen

(Click on any image to see styling notes.)

It’s a Sunday afternoon, but she is not complaining and neither are we. After a quick lunch at High Street Phoenix, she walks into the studio and is soon grooving to the filmi beats that set the tone for the afternoon. The actor — whose schedule is dotted with shoots and a much-awaited upcoming holiday — does quicksilver changes from one colourful ensemble to another. Getting into the spirit of the moment and the fun mood of the season, she exudes bonhomie. Frank and forthright, she talks about how she wants to chart her own path in the world of the movies. Excerpts from the interview.

“I never wanted to act, I never thought I could act. It was not plan B, C or even Z. I had one year to while away when I was preparing for my MBA entrance exam, and since I’m quite hyperactive and can’t do nothing, I decided to give acting a shot as I was getting offers to act in some really big movies, especially down south. My first Tamil film (Aadukalam) went on to win six national awards. After that, there was no looking back. I’d already started signing new projects before my first film released and today, acting comes naturally to me.”

“There are two ways you can really make a mark. Either you start off by being in the biggest commercial film, where you are the glamorous diva and so people sit up and take notice, or you go the other route and take up roles where people notice your acting. I have not done those larger-than-life diva roles as I chose the other route.”

“I’ve never planned anything in my acting career. Whatever I did plan never happened and so after a point I stopped planning. Bollywood too was not really on my agenda. One day, I got a call and was told that David Dhawan wanted to meet me. I never even auditioned for my role in Chashme Baddoor. Similarly, if by chance a Hollywood movie comes my way, I’ll do it.”

“I never wanted to get into this industry and acting was never a passion; I’ve always believed in doing what makes me happy. It’s not like I will act till the last breath of my life. I will act only till I am really enjoying it. I don’t want to change myself to become an actor, because that’s not my aim in life. It’s not that I will kill for a role. I’m happy to have an image of my own, one that has been created over the years.”

“A co-star I’d like to work with is Ranbir Kapoor, because he’s one of the most versatile actors we’ve ever had.”

Pink is very close to my heart because I portrayed a character (Meenal Arora) who is 99-per-cent me. The incident that happened to her hasn’t happened to me, but her reaction, if it had happened to me, is how mine would be. Her look, the way she talks…it’s me in the garb of Meenal Arora.”

My style mantra is ‘keep it simple’. I don’t want the way I put a look together or the clothes I own to overpower my personality. I cannot force myself into an outfit.”

Fitness is important. Otherwise you’ll feel lethargic and lazy. I make sure to work out at least a few days in a week. I can feel the difference when I haven’t exercised. I don’t go to the gym, I play squash instead. I’ve seen some drastic changes in my body since I decided to play a sport.”

I have a passion for travelling. It is my main indulgence. To de-stress, if I have a couple of hours, I sleep; and if I have a couple of days, I travel.”

For the evening, the messier the hair, the better. On days when you’ve been busy and don’t have time to do anything — just let it be as it is. Simply add some mousse or a leave-in conditioner and scrunch it. As for make-up, add some shine to your face.”

“This is going to be a big year for me. I have at least five releases in different languages (Runningshaadi.com, The Ghazi Attack, Tadka, Naam Shabana, Judwaa 2, and more). It’s going to be quite an exciting and decisive year for me.”

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