Actor Taapsee Pannu believes her latest release Saand Ki Aankh could be the catalyst that turns the tide for female-led stories in the mainstream Hindi cinema. The film, which released today, has been receiving rave reviews from critics as well as audiences alike.
Saand Ki Aankh also played at the Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival as its closing film on Thursday night, where it drew a standing ovation for Taapsee and her co-star Bhumi Pednekar, and director Tushar Hiranandani.
The film is based on the lives of India's octogenarian sharpshooters Chandro Tomar and Prakashi Tomar, played by Taapsee and Bhumi, respectively.
"Most of the time what happens is if there's a two-female film either it's got one male actor they're fighting for or the females have got multiple male actors paired opposite. It's not led by those two females primarily. Saand Ki Aankh is one of those rare cases where we don't have any male star heading the star cast. It's only between Bhumi and me and it's one of those very rare scripts wherein nobody can say, 'This character had slight edge over the other,'" Taapsee tells us.
The official poster of Saand Ki Aankh.
Taapsee also says she hopes Saand Ki Aankh changes Bollywood's conventional attitude about female actors, and paves the way for more projects that depict the full scope of their existence.
"Saand Ki Aankh has even taken away the glamour quotient from us which a lot of other films that have female cast leading them might have because you want to use that glamour quotient of a woman. It's not wrong though. It's a part of our job and I'm extremely proud if I'm glamorous but even that strength is taken away from us in this movie. There's no male lead either.
So we were only left with some really strong, good content and performance capacity to play with and we have tried to use it to the best, hoping this Diwali things are going to change for female actors in the industry where they will come together for films which don't really have a male supporting it. I also hope Diwali and all these other big dates will also be take up by females after Saand Ki Aankh," adds Taapsee.
Saand Ki Aankh met with a fair share of controversy before its release when it invited major backlash for the age-inappropriate casting. Veteran actresses Neena Gupta and Soni Razdan also expressed their displeasure, saying, they would like for the film industry to cast age-appropriate actors for older roles.
However, Seema Pahwa, the longtime actor who experienced a resurgence after Ankhon Dekhi, Bareilly ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, defended Taapsee and Bhumi's casting in a recent interview, saying, "people should rather show support for the two actors for taking up the challenge."
"It was so heart-warming to see that," recalls Taapsee, before adding, "finally there's someone from that age category who can actually see things neutrally. There are so many films I feel I should have done but they don't come to me. But that doesn't mean I'll start vocalising my opinion-- 'I should have done this.' I totally get where they are coming from but-- 'Will I say no to a film just because it's not my age group when it's got such an amazing script like Saand Ki Aankh?' Sorry, No! I will say yes to a film like this again and again if it comes to me."
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