Since she entered Bollywood eight years ago, Taapsee Pannu has been in a highly acclaimed National Award-winning film (Aadukalam, 2010), played a star-making cameo (Baby, 2015), and revealed solid acting chops in a film that captured the zeitgeist (Pink, 2016). But with five releases in the span of 12 months, it’s 2018 that has been her best year yet.
In Mulk, she affectingly played the role of a Hindu-born lawyer defending her Muslim husband’s family against terrorism charges, but it was her turn as a feisty young woman conflicted in love in Manmarziyaan, that truly saw her fly.
Oddly, Pannu wasn’t a big filmgoer growing up. It was in college that bunking classes and going to the cinema exposed her to the magic of the movies. “I remember watching Dhoom 2 (2006), and the image of Hrithik in that pink shirt barely hanging off his shoulders, dancing to that song is embedded in my brain,” she says.
In the year ahead, she has Badla, a thriller that reunites her with Amitabh Bachchan, a Tamil- Telugu bilingual, as well as a two-heroine project with Bhumi Pednekar. For an ‘outsider’, Pannu has made brisk progress. “I realised early on that I was going to have to work just that little bit harder… knock on doors just a little bit longer, and there was no point fighting it,” is how she explains it.