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Taapsee 8 Times When She Has Made Courageous Choices



Taapsee Pannu

They don’t make ‘em like her . Not any more. When it comes to  making unconventional choices  the closest parallel  I can find to Taapsee Pannu is  the  yesteryears’  actress Tanuja  who chose not what  would make her a star  but roles that opened  up  new ways  for a female hero to express herself. Here’s looking at Tapsee’s top 7.

1.     Baby(2014): She had  only a cameo in this  espionage  drama. But she broke the glass ceiling and   a lot else when she  played the warrior queen Shabana Khan ready  to take on the most hardened  criminals  on their own territory. Her  hand-to-hand with  actor Sushant Singh in a hotel room  was to die for.

2.     Pink(2016):  Two years  after Baby, producer Shoojt Sircar and  director Annirudh Roy Chaudhuri  cast  Tapsee  as  a casualty  of  sexual assault who  won’t play the victim, won’t stop  wearing short dresses, won’t stop drinking if she wishes,just to prove  only bad girls get sexually violated.  Tapsee was like  coiled-up  livewire  ready to erupt any time.Any place. Even the  courtroom. Contempt  not just of court but all social conventions.

3.     Naam Shabana(2017): As  an Indian  intelligence agent the myopic script   didn’t allow her character  to  go far enough. Tapsee’s  Shabana Khan was cowed down constantly, first by Manoj Bajpai barking orders  on the  phone and then by Akshay Kumar who insisted on  holding her hand and walking her through the action scenes when all Shabana wanted to do  was kick some ass.  Solo. Given the limitations Tapsee managed to  wrap her  head  around  her character’s flaws and make them seem like human traits that we  need  to conquer  to achieve a level  of  success beyond  the prescribed.

4.     Badlaa(2018):  Playing  the  anti-heroine to the  hilt,a  character so morally twisted  she makes  every  Bad Girl seen  in Hindi cinema  seem  like a kindergarten prankster, Tapsee blew our brains  out with her   character’s devious mind. To  put it in a nutshell, playing an unfaithful wife she gave body to a mind that was  dangerous and self-destructive. A truly liberating performance and the film made truckloads  of   money to boot. Yes!

5.     Manmarziyan(2018): Playing a girl who loves having sex  in itself  such an uncommon thing to do . How did Tapsee agree?Lok kya kahenge? Mummy kya kahegi? And how did she get away with  hitting the sack without making the  moralists training their guns on her?

6.     Mulk( 2018): This time  it wasn’t about  how much space her character occupied in the script .It was  about being part  of a project  that gave her  the  freedom to  speak about the lack of freedom denied to  certain sections of our society.  Tapsee played the Hindu daughter-in-law of a Muslim fighting to restore the  family’s dignity in court.

7.     Game Over(2019): Confined to a wheelchair,  no glamorous trappings, no boyfriend tucked away in some corner ,playing a  hyper-tense  chronically suicidal  woman suffering from tattoo  terror , Tapsee just knocks the  ball out of  the park.

8. Thappad(2020): Taapsee Pannu brought to her  hurt wife’s role  a  heroic  dignity and a distant  poignancy that distil themselves in a performance of screaming silences. I  dare any  other contemporary actress to equal the sheer persuasive  power  of Taapsee’s performance. 

Her choices  are unique. Her  performances  eschew  artificiality. She is  a breath of fresh air.Please don’t change.

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