Actor Taapsee Pannu says that Thappad will show you things that are taken for granted in a relationship. By Team Viva
Bas ek thappad, lekin nahi maar sakta.” (only one slap, but he cannot beat me) This line from the film Thappad questions the normalisation of such instances in our society.
Domestic violence — physical, sexual, verbal and emotional — cannot be justified. But a significant population of women often find themselves at its receiving end. One might question why do they continue with such toxic relationships, but the answers are certainly too complex to understand.
What made you go for the role?
As an actor, some characters set you free and some suffocate you. It was latter for me with Amrita, my character in Thappad. Her righteousness and maturity to handle every situation helped me grow as a person and an actor but a determination deep inside and an infectious calmness on the outside was suffocating at times.
Your films have mostly been upfront about women’s safety. How challenging it is to work on such issues that openly challenge patriarchy?
I have understood the meaning of the word “patriarchy” in recent years. For instance, if your father says you cannot go out, you don’t question that. Your mother may agree with you but she is just running the house and it does not matter much to her. You have to be in the house by 8 pm because guys can’t control themselves, so you have to take charge of being safe from them.
When a film is made on such a topic, people listen to you, they may agree or disagree but atleast listen. In this fast-paced life people usually don’t have the time to address such issues. So if you have been given that kind of power, then you should use it in the right direction.
How do you think the film explores the grey areas of a relationship?
Thappad will make you see things that are taken for granted in a relationship. There is a dialogue in the film which says “I can suddenly see all the unfair things which I did not notice earlier.” So it gives you a trigger initially and then you notice things that were taken for granted.
Usually, what happens is, there is an abusive husband and a wife who tolerates this abuse valiantly because at the end, it is all about getting a meethi, adrak waali chai from him. He might get drunk and thrash her at night but in the morning everything gets back to normal with a “sorry” because it wasn’t done consciously.
In the trailer, it can be seen that the mother and mother-in-law of your character do not approve the idea of divorce… What’s your take on this?
I don’t have a take on this.
Usually, such violence (ek thappad) are normalised in our society. Why do you think people ignore it? Or even if they try to take it seriously, a small act of love is looked at as compensation.
Women are often told to “tolerate” and are expected to behave more patiently than men in a given situation. But violence is violence and you shouldn’t tolerate it at all. Staying in a toxic relationship isn’t acceptable.
As much as your roles have been versatile, they have been standalone in giving a strong message…How do you choose your scripts?
I only choose scripts that I feel will emerge as hits. I always look at a film from the perspective of the audience. I ask myself, will the audience feel that this particular film is worth their money and time? If I feel positive about it, only then I sign it.
Do you think artistes have a responsibility towards society? How?
Yes, an artiste should be responsible when it comes to portraying various roles on screen. The impact a film makes on the audience should not be taken lightly. The audience response reflects the mindset of the society at large.
Do you feel the pressure of putting across the right content on social media as you have evolved as a youth icon?
I want to better myself for myself and not because I will get more likes on Instagram. I’ve heard horror stories of girls trying to ape an actress’ picture just to get more likes. For some people, it is all about the number of likes they get. But for me, it is way beyond that.
Monday, 02 March 2020 | Team Viva
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