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January 29, 2020
Bollywood Gossip

‘Glad our film has started a debate’

Taapsee Pannu says she is tired of responding to questions on young actors playing older roles

The trailer of Saand Ki Aankh, based on the life of octogenarian shooter dadis — Prakashi Tomar and Chandro Tomar — dropped on Monday, and had people raving about it. But with the praise came criticism about older actors not being cast in the film, and younger actors Taapsee Pannu (32) and Bhumi Pednekar (30) instead ageing on screen. Taapsee shared a lengthy tweet. Excerpts include: “I wonder… Have we really lost the shoulder along with our spine to support people who venture out of their comfort zone to bring about a change? Or it’s just reserved for two females who at relatively nascent stage of their career venture out to do something, which we were told, most of the people turned down?” A chat with the actor:

You and Bhumi are playing octogenarians in the film. How challenging was the entire process, including prosthetics?

It was the challenge part that excited us to do it. We had a couple of workshops to get the body language, dialect and lingo right. Even the chores they do in the film, we had to learn all those. Though prosthetics look the most difficult part, it was the easiest, as it’s just physical and you don’t have to do much. Other things were tougher.

The debate about senior actors not being cast for the roles has started, and you poured your heart out on Twitter. What prompted it?

I’ve been dealing with it since the time the poster of the film came out. It’s sad I’ve to keep answering it. This time, I just put a post so I don’t have to clarify again. Anyone who asks me the question again will get the same answer, might as well just copy paste from there…

You also wrote, ‘..or these lovely allegations and questions are reserved only for us.’ What made you feel that way? How do you react to Neena Gupta’s point?

All examples I gave (of Aamir Khan in 3 Idiots, 2009, Anupam Kher in Saaransh, 1984, etc.) no questions were raised, this was reserved for us. That statement was my answer. I’m not going to target any one person and answer them. I’ve put out a statement.. if you have a comeback to this, I’m more than happy to answer.

You mentioned many actors had turned down the role…

I got to know much later when we were looking for the other girl. I’m not the right person [to name them] and the reasons people of diverse age groups and backgrounds gave for turning down this role.

But are you glad that your film, Saand Ki Aankh, has started a debate?

I’m happy people have taken notice, it has at least started some debate, and that’s what cinema should do. Whenever you take that first different step, there’s always going to be resistance. So it’s not that I’m surprised with this, the narrow vision people have.

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