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Bollywood has a crisis of courage, not opportunities: Taapsee Pannu- The New Indian Express


Express News Service

Taapsee Pannu, like many self-proclaimed cricket lovers, is not watching women’s cricket. That changed in 2017 when she read Mithali Raj’s famous speech to a reporter who asked the former India captain to name her favourite male cricketer. “Would you ask a male cricketer the same question?” Mithali’s response with a grin that rightfully made the headlines turned out to be the kind of objection that female athletes sometimes seem to need in order to get the world to notice they. “Before that, I was also one of those people who didn’t watch,” said Shabaash Mithu, who plays Mithali in the upcoming biopic of Taapsee. “Mithali became my window into women’s cricket because of her words and stance.”

Taapsee first met Mithali at an awards ceremony in Chennai. After the biopic was released, they could only interact once or twice. “It was during the pandemic; so, she was either in the bubble, playing games, or training for the 2022 World Cup,” recalls Taapsee. As a backup, she had to rely on Mithali’s teammates – such as bowler Nooshin Al Khadeer, Mithali’s best friend for 23 years – for advice. Taapsee is clearly devoted to training. Having never played cricket before, she tried to learn the character of the sport, using Mitali’s stance, sit-ups and footwork. Even the cricketer’s pre-match rituals, such as placing the left mat before the right, became hers.

Taapsee Pannu by Shabaash Mithu

Hitting the ball is another matter entirely. It’s no joke to imitate Mithali Raj’s ferocious and flashy batting style, and Taapsee, surrounded by actual state cricketers in supporting roles, had to really elevate her game. “The hardest thing for me to do is the square cut. Its timing is tough. I’m not going to let the ball come to me. I’ll always hit it earlier.” Also, Mithali’s early career Some visual documentation doesn’t help either. “We’re portraying her from 16 to 36, but there were no visuals before the BCCI took over (women’s cricket) in 2006-2007. And with a film like 83, they have clear shots to rely on.”

It’s like Mithali’s response to “favorite cricketer”, or the fact that there are only three teams in the women’s T20 challenge (which will be replaced by the full women’s IPL from 2023), says India’s take on men’s cricket The broader bias, Taapsee feels. “Change is happening, but we need to acknowledge the problem. If we really like cricket, it doesn’t matter which gender holds the bat.” Sounds enthusiastic about Shabaash Mithu though and hopes it makes things better OK, but Taapsee also expressed some boredom with the sports movie genre. In fact, a third of her recent Hindi projects are sports movies. Even two that aren’t — Manmarziyaan in 2018 and Looop Lapeta in 2022 — cast her as a protagonist with a sports background. “Now whenever I get a script or character sketch about an athlete, I turn it off these days,” admits Taapsee, who has been offered to swimmers, cyclists, shot putters and footballers in the past. “It became too physically and mentally taxing for me. So, I needed to take a break.”

It’s a small concession in Taapsee’s humming film work among the six other upcoming films. Of course, the most exciting of them all is Rajkumar Hirani’s film Dunki starring Shah Rukh Khan. The first installment of the film, which ended last month, is said to be a cross-border immigration drama with information.

We asked Taapsee if SRK talked about his favorite films of hers. “For all the obvious reasons, it should be Badra (laughs) because he made it and he made a lot of money. He kept mentioning my movies to other people. I love Chad! His India. This It’s my favourite Hindi movie.”

After Shabaash Mithu, Taapsee released Dobaaraa of Anurag Kashyap. The Manmarziyaan duo reunite for a sci-fi story about a mother and a young boy. The film, based on the Spanish-language Phantom (2018), premiered at the Indian Film Festival in London and is heading to the Fantasia Festival in Montreal this week. “There is no other director who shines at festivals like Anurag Kashyap,” Tapsey said. “Even in the scenes where he’s trying to cover up his mistakes, people can find some meaning. There’s varying degrees of obsession with his work.”

Last year, Taapsee hung her production banner, The Outsider Movie, with Pranjal Khandhdiya. Their debut, the psychological thriller Blurr starring Taapsee and Gulshan Devaiah, will be released this year. She also supports Dhak Dhak (an all-female road trip movie) and is working on a movie starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu. After working in the industry for more than a decade, how much freedom does a converted producer have? “It’s liberating these days,” Taapsee said with a smile. “But most of the time, I feel a lot of responsibility and pressure. I’m discovering new aspects of the industry. There’s so much going on behind the scenes.”

like? “Well, for example, a lot of people used to call me brave because I chose a movie like Pink. It seemed like a no-brainer to me. But when you’re a producer, you go into the market to The kind of reaction you get when the cast and crew are pitching these films…not everyone is ready for that kind of responsibility. As someone who used to think there was a lack of opportunity in this industry, it was an eye-opener for me. Seems Not everyone has the courage.”

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