Taapsee Pannu’s HONEST interview on working with SRK, Rajkumar Hirani, Trolls, ‘Dunki’ and more…
What are your emotions post the release of Dunki?
I think things are still happening. Every day, I wake up with some more beautiful messages and comments. I don’t know about others, but I’m ending the year with a bang. I’ve waited for a long time as I didn’t have a theatrical release for more than a year, so in a way, just saving the best for the last.
Describe your first meeting with Shah Rukh Khan for Dunki….
In your head, obviously, all the flash cuts of all his films and the moments he’s created on screen, his songs to his dialogues and all of that keep giving a good reel. But when you come in front of him, it’s not like he has an intimidating personality. He is a very warm and welcoming person. But because you can see the same man you’ve been seeing for years on the big screen, you just freeze in that moment. I had to constantly keep shaking myself after the first couple of meetings, like, ‘come back to reality.. he’s just sitting there in front of me’. It was never like anybody got to know about it or I shared it with anyone because it’ll be very odd if I do that. I don’t want to mess it up in any way. So you’re putting up this very confident and brave front, but you know, mentally, you are in a certain danger looking at him. But, it did take me a couple of days to actually snap out of it.
And how was it to romance Shah Rukh Khan?
Same thing! Actually, when your eyes meet, when he is looking at you with those expressions, you immediately have that déjà vu of those classic romantic films that he has done and we have loved him in those films. So you slip into that memory of what you have seen of him in the movies and have loved so much. Since most of our scenes were together, during the initial days when he kept looking at me very lovingly, it was very hard to not freeze in that moment.
So did your idea of romance change after meeting Shah Rukh Khan ?
My approach as an actor in front of the camera, my awareness as an actor in front of the camera has changed for the better after this film. Courtesy both Shah Rukh sir and Raju sir.
You did something very interesting this year and it was to host a roast on your own birthday, what made you do that?
I love comedy, also I feel people have forgotten how to take a joke on themselves, I feel the humour has literally gone out of our lives. We are simply ready to get hurt about anything and everything. So, I think it’s high time that people learn to first laugh at themselves and then enjoy a good joke. I think we take ourselves very seriously as if we are some kind of King or Queen somewhere. In the larger scheme of things, we are nobodies. We are like the tiniest dust particle on planet Earth.
And I really live by that logic. I don’t take myself too seriously. I take my work very seriously. So, I don’t really feel tumne mujhe aise kaise bola. Also, I did it to give out an indication to people who think by trolling me or by calling me names, they’re going to really affect me. No. When I decided to be a public figure, I knew this would happen. And you become so used to it that it doesn’t affect you. But when you do that, do it in a nice, funny way. So, I can at least laugh at it.
Post Dunki, there is a very interesting project in your hand which is the sequel to your film Haseen Dilruba… how was it was to extend the character you played in the first one?
This time around, I approached it with more confidence because when I was doing the first part I was stepping into the role which conventionally would not suit me as an actor. I was probably the last one to be approached for the film. There are a lot of people who said no for this role. And I keep blaming Kanika ( writer) for that because she didn’t come to me first. She heard a no from so many other girls. So then finally she gave this role to me. But with the second part I figured that she has taken a big leap in terms of stakes, the plot points are very, very crazy in comparison to the first one.