Taapsee Pannu, celebrated actor and now a producer, has taken a bold stance against the deeply ingrained ‘star system’ in Bollywood, shedding light on how it adversely impacts small-budget films and the industry as a whole. In an interview with ETimes, she candidly discussed the hypocrisy within the film industry, emphasizing the urgent need for change.
Taapsee Pannu’s Debut as a Producer
Having recently made her producer debut with the film “Dhak Dhak,” Taapsee pointed out the glaring issues of the industry. She exposed the practice of prioritizing the question, “Who is the hero?” over evaluating the content of a film, a practice that affects both its financial prospects and emotional investment.
The Hero Factor:
Taapsee candidly expressed her perspective, saying, “This myth I had about people believing in ‘content is king’ was shattered while making this film. There’s so much hypocrisy. They will hear your one-line story and will be quick to ask, “Picture mein actor kaun hai (Who is the hero in the film)?” That decides their financial and emotional investment in the project. As an actor, I never asked who my co-star is, or how big the makers are when I signed a movie. I worked with so many first-time directors and co-stars who were newcomers, but that is not how others look at it.”
Challenging the Detrimental ‘Star System’
The ‘star system’ has persisted, even with the rise of OTT platforms, and Taapsee emphasized that it’s detrimental to the industry’s growth. She suggested that this culture is perpetuated by everyone involved, including actors, studios, and the audience. Taapsee remarked, “It’s a cycle. Just because the studios recover their investment (by selling digital rights) for the smaller films, there’s minimal interest in packaging and releasing a film well. That’s detrimental to the growth of the industry because you are only enabling the big names. Baakiyonko chance kaise milega (How will the rest get a chance)? It will only widen the gap between actors and stars. We keep saying Bollywood doesn’t attempt something meaningful but when we try to do that, there’s rarely any support, and this must change.”
About “Dhak Dhak”
“Dhak Dhak” tells the story of four ordinary women from different walks of life embarking on a transformative bike journey. It explores self-discovery and the essence of sisterhood during their adventure. The film features renowned actors Ratna Pathak Shah, Dia Mirza Rekhi, Fatima Sana Shaikh, and Sanjana Sanghi in leading roles.
Taapsee’s recent statements are a call to action, challenging the status quo in the Bollywood film industry and advocating for a more inclusive and content-focused approach that supports meaningful films and emerging talent.