Taapsee Pannu is among the actresses who Kangana Ranaut has taken potshots at on more than one occasion. While her sister Rangoli Chandel called her a 'sasti copy' last year, she was clubbed among 'B-grade actresses' and 'needy outsiders' by Kangana in a recent TV interview.
Kangana was talking about the 'Insider' vs 'Outsider' debate which has been reignited in the aftermath of Sushant Singh Rajput's death.
While Taapse has mostly responded with humour and sarcasm to the labels and allegations on Twitter, she opened up in greater detail during a recent interaction with CNN-News18's Marya Shakil. Excerpts:
Though your initial reaction to charges leveled by Kangana Ranaut that you are a B-grade actress, was of sarcasm and restraint, since now it is a full-blown attack, how do you view it?
This hasn't been the first time. I have been saying consistently, since this outsider-insider debate began, I am very proud of being an outsider. Because good or bad, right or wrong, it’s my journey. That’s the beauty of being an outsider. But what irked me was the fact that I was getting discredited. I am okay with people calling me names, I can’t change their thinking. But you can’t discredit my hard work, just because I don’t follow the same rules. That doesn’t make me inferior in any way. I am not going to take personal digs at people. I am not going to justify who I am, my filmography is out there for people to see.
Who is an 'outsider'?
Outsider is the label or tag that we get. Actors like me Kangana, Swara Bhasker, who are not from a film family. We are all outsiders and we have had our journey. I did not want to bring this up at this time, but both Sushant and I have had similar journeys. Both of us are engineers, we entered Hindi cinema in 2013. He came via television, I came from the south film industry. Both of these are considered tags that need to be shed when you enter the industry. The kind of hardship that he has gone through, coming from Bihar, I don’t think a person like that can be so fragile. We have studied in schools right next to each other in Delhi. But I don’t want to talk about those similarities right now because I have never met that person. We have never even crossed paths at events. So I suddenly can’t get into the debate just to get my two bits of attention and try to have my personal vendetta. We all fight our own battles, Sushant was fighting his. I was replaced in Pati Patni Aur Woh, she didn’t come and support me, I didn’t ask for it also.
Do you think this debate is getting coloured?
Everyone is trying to get their own personal vendetta sorted in this. Industry is one part of nepotism. But so is gthe media and the audience. Why don't they watch our films, first day first show? Why didn't they make Sonchiriya a big hit? Why don't they go for outsiders' films the way they go for the star kids' films? All of us are a part of this game. It's not just one group of people. Look at the kind of coverage Taimur gets today. I don't get that much of coverage in spite of trying to work really hard, that's unfair. But we can't keep playing name games and harassing people.
Would the Bollywood club give you a place at the table?
I will make my space, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna cut down other people. Because then I’ve lost the battle I’m fighting. I can't harass other people, especially not the outsiders I claim to be fighting for.
Have you ever lose out to roles to star kids, or was it because of your choice of cinema?
I did lose films to star kids. I've been replaced unprofessionally in the films I had spoken about. There are two ways - either you depend on the biggies to support you consistently and help you reach the position that you eventually want to, or you make one for yourself regardless of anyone supporting you or not. I decided to depend on myself. I choose to be 'atmanirbhar'. I made sure I got the kind of films I wanted to do and the path of my own. It might take longer but I will have my own journey. I have no regrets.