At the end of the day, you have to be the hero in your own story.
Bollywood actress, Taapsee Pannu, who received acclaim for her role in the movie Pink has opened up in a moving post about her struggle to make it in the film industry, detailing the sexism, misogyny and the stigma that has seemingly been attached to her name.
Speaking to the popular Facebook page, Humans of Bombay, she throws light on the beginning of her career when she was labelled “bad luck” to any project attached to her name and began to be shunned by producers and directors as a result of it. However she makes it clear that she isn’t complaining about the cards she has been dealt with saying, “Expecting equal pay is far off, even the basic amount is something I have to fight for— but I’m not complaining.”
Being a woman in the industry, she has also had to deal with fans who couldn’t respect her agency. She recalls a time where a man in a crowd was trying to poke her from behind. Taapsee notes, “I didn’t even turn to look at him, I grabbed his finger and twisted it so hard that he winced in pain.”
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Ultimately, her struggles have only made her stronger and unwilling to give up and she isn’t going anywhere. As she resolutely puts it, “Truth is, I’m less heroine and more the ‘hero’ in my story…”
“I got into modelling during my college days, just to make some extra pocket money. I had scored 88% in my CAT exams…
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“I got into modelling during my college days, just to make some extra pocket money. I had scored 88% in my CAT exams and was enroute to pursuing my MBA when I got an offer for a film — it happened as organically as that. There after, three of the films I worked in didn’t work and I got the label of ‘iron leg’ — I was ‘rumoured’ to bring bad luck to films. Mind you, all of these films had huge male co-stars and directors, but the failure of movies was blamed upon my bad luck. Thereafter, I’ve been asked to reduce my pay, I’ve been thrown out of films because the producer was having financial issues. This was all before I did the movie Pink, but believe it or not even after that there’s stigma I’ve had to deal with. Actors have refused to work with me in Bollywood, because I’m not an ‘A list actress’. Producers have finalised me, locked my dates and then randomly backed out at the last minute because they got a bigger name. Expecting equal pay is far off, even the basic amount is something I have to fight for— but I’m not complaining.
I’m here because I love acting — I may not be the most glamorous, or have the perfect body but I believe in my art. I don’t like indulging in self pity…I enjoy being strong and independent. Just a few weeks ago, I was going to a Keertan in Delhi where in the middle of the crowd I felt a guy trying to poke me from behind. I didn’t even turn to look at him, I grabbed his finger and twisted it so hard that he winced in pain. Truth is, I’m less heroine and more the ‘hero’ in my story and for some that’s a bitter pill to swallow, but then that’s tough…because I’m not going anywhere.”