Taapsee Pannu on playing strong female leads, being an outsider, and the ride to the top

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The actor is at her fittest best with a spate of upcoming releases, all as she continues being the poster girl for what it truly means to be the most authentic version of yourself, no matter what the trolls might say. Here, she lets us inside her journey. What does it mean to be a successful feminist actor? For Taapsee Pannu, it’s being her own person and chasing her dreams. “I have never felt the need to live up to a different image,” she says, and then admits that she was the girl whose dreams changed often—scientist, astronaut, fighter pilot. “You know the ‘When I grow up…’ conversation on a school bus? All I remember saying is that whatever I do, people will remember me.” And for about a decade, Pannu’s been busy making her unforgettable mark via her filmography of strong leading roles and in her vocal support of issues she cares about.

We speak at noon on a weekday. She’s Zoom-ready in her pyjamas, tucked away in her Mumbai apartment. While this may not be an unusual sight for most of us these days, it’s Pannu’s rare day off in her otherwise gruelling schedule. It’s been a year of transformation for the 33-year-old. She has worked on three much-anticipated sports movies—Rashmi Rocket (where she is a track athlete from the hinterland), Looop Lapeta (a remake of Run Lola Run) and Shabaash Mithu (Indian women’s cricket captain Mithali Raj’s biopic, scheduled for 2022). While the buzz around her playing multiple leads and her astonishing physical transformation is near-deafening, it goes way beyond the physical for Pannu.


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