Recently, In an interaction with Hindustan Times, Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu opened up about nepotism in Bollywood, trolls, and the controversial Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case. When asked about nepotism in Bollywood, Taapsee made it clear that she’s still no insider in Bollywood. She said: “By whatever yardsticks that we have, I’m an outsider, but what’s wrong in it? I’ve never felt inferior about calling myself an outsider and I don’t see it as a derogatory word. It’s just a tag that they put on the basis of which family you were born in, and the access you’ve had to the film industry. So, based on that, I’m an outsider, and tomorrow, if my kid ends up becoming an actor, they’ll start calling me an insider.”
She continued: “Also, I agree it’s a tougher journey because you don’t have the same access points, you end up losing films to people who have those access points, and I always looked at those letdowns as a challenge to turn the tables, one day. I’m glad I could do that to a large extent. It’s not like wrong and unfair things don’t happen to me now also after doing a decent amount of work, but I still don’t see them as something that will make me bitter about the industry I’m in. I still take them as a challenge. So, it’s not like I want to become an insider, no, I’m fine being an outsider and I’m very proud and happy being one.”
Commenting on Bollywood facing heat after SSR’s untimely passing, Taapsee said: “I feel with great power comes great responsibility. I do agree if you are a celebrity, you are celebrated by the audience, and in India especially — like it or not — there’s a very thin line between the characters we play on camera and the way we are perceived as human beings.”
“Most of our audience, even when they talk about roles and the films that we do, for example, when they talk about say Thappad, they’ll say, ‘Taapsee was married to this guy, Taapee’s husband hit Taapsee, so they forget it’s not Taapsee, it’s Amrita (my on-screen character). That’s how the audience treats the film industry actors. So when people think these are the heroes they pay to watch and they celebrate these characters, they’re also celebrating these human beings, and hence we’re supposed to live up to that image that we’ve created in their minds because of our films. And that’s why there’s an opinion demanded and expected out of us, and I’m not totally against that.”
“I understand, there’s a price you have to pay to be a public figure, and this is one of that. All I’m saying is when you expect us to have an opinion, either agree or agree to disagree. You cannot curb our opinion by spewing hate on us, or get angry at us for not having an opinion — then you’re forcing your opinion on us. So, being held accountable in a very grave manner for having, or not having an opinion on a certain topic, sometimes crosses the line for us. So I’m not saying leave Bollywood alone because I’ve always said that cricket and Bollywood are two religions in India, and a lot matters when a cricketer or a film industry celebrity says something. But then, you can’t bully us for having an opinion.”
When quizzed about SSR’s death, Pannu said: “I’ve maintained that I’ll never make someone’s death a personal vendetta, or a way to get through people who I have issues with or just to create a drama around to get attention which I can see a lot of people doing right now. I’ve always seen him (Sushant) on screen as an actor, but now I’m seeing things being spoken about him, his personal life, family, love life, habits and god knows what all, on TV in such big debates on prime time with some really high-level dramatics and conspiracy theories being thrown all over the place.”
“As a viewer, I’m not able to understand if these channels are taking over the work of the court and CBI because they’re passing statements. I always thought news debates are about putting forth two sides but right now, it’s a forced side being shown and a decision being made. The kind of conclusions some of the news channels have given us, they’re trying to create a perception and image and they’ve sort of given a verdict even before the court and CBI’s decision of the case. So I’m unable to understand if I should listen to the verdict from these news channels, what they want me to believe, or whether it’s fair to wait for what the court or CBI have to say eventually because that’s what the law of the land is. But, right now, I come across these headlines and statements given by TV anchors, which are conclusive, as to what exactly had happened, when CBI and court haven’t really given any statement as to what really went behind this. So, I feel there’s some circus, for the lack of a better word, that has been created on TV and it’s making the audience feel delusional about the law this country is supposed to follow.”
“You can’t misuse the power you have to influence people, on TV, to give verdicts when it’s not your job. It’s clearly like an opinion is being forced upon and one particular side is being pushed down our throats. Initially, I was very curious to know what really happened with this very amazing actor, but now, slowly over months when I am seeing this, it looks like everyone is trying to push some of their personal agenda,” she concluded.