For almost a year now, there has been a strong buzz that Taapsee Pannu has been cast opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Raj Kumar Hirani’s new project. It is a project that Hirani and SRK have been planning for more than three years.Dealing with illegal migration to Canada, it stars SRK as a passport-less stowaway .
It is a complete departure from everything that SRK has played so far.Interestingly Hirani had first offered Munnabhai to SRK. Now that the two are finally working together, there is widespread speculation as to who will play the leading lady in this Hirani-SRK venture.
The shooting of the untitled film has started. But the leading lady is yet to be announced.
Apparently Taapsee Pannu is the top contender for the part. But her reputation precedes her.As a female hero known to do author-backed roles it is difficult for Taapsee to find A-list leading men who are willing to share screen space with her.
She has gotten used to this problem.While she refrained from commenting on her the Hirani project Taapsee in an earlier interview with me had shared her dilemma as a female hero. “This has been a consistent issue for years. And I’ve made peace with the fact that it will continue to be an issue. Without taking names, there are prominent leading men who have said no to projects with me arguing the scripts were women-oriented. They have actually said, ‘This is an out-and-out girl’s film so I don’t want to do it.’ Some really talented leading actors have said no to films where I have a larger part than the male lead. I have never shied away from doing smaller parts in a male-driven film. So I really don’t know how to explain this lack of sportsmanship other than by blaming the male ego. Do they have so little faith in their talent that they feel they won’t get the audiences’ attention and love in a smaller role? I look at the West and I am amazed at how the big male stars do roles in films where the protagonist is a woman. What thought processes makes the male actor in the West more open to women-centric films than their counterparts in these parts? I certainly hope this mind-set changes soon.”
Incidentally Shah Rukh Khan had been offered Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, then titled Padmaavati. He had turned it down arguing that he doesn’t do films named after the film’s leading lady.