Whether Kangana Ranaut meant B-grade or B-lister, that’s a different debate altogether. Because she said what she said, and I think we need to remind her and many other people, that both, Taapsee Pannu and Swara Bhasker are exceptional actors. We also hold the belief that Ranaut too is a fantastic actor, but why does she need to drag other people beneath her, is beyond us. So while Ranaut is saying what she has to, we list five performances, of Pannu that tell the world that she’s an A-grade actor and, in fact better than many A-listers, not that we are comparing…
Rumi leads Manmarziyaan. She’s a hockey player, she’s hot headed, and very instinctive. Kanika Dhillon is known for writing her women to the T, and that’s what she does with Rumi too. And Taapsee Pannu gives her everything to this character. From the look to the expressions to the dialect, there isn’t one thing about her skill that makes you doubt for a second that there could’ve been a better Rumi. It’s almost like she’s lived this character in real life, she’s that natural.
As Naina Sethi in Sujoy Ghosh’s Badla, Taapsee Pannu is supposed to maintain a straight face while she engages in conversations, moves about town, attends business meeting and plays with her daughter. Naina is not boisterous as Rumi (Manmarziyaan), neither is she a patriot like Aarti (Mulk). She’s stubborn, has a head of her own and will not succumb to things just because she’s supposed to. And Taapsee Pannu is all of this and so much more. As I pointed out, what stuns me the most is how this woman can keep such a straight face an emote so much at the same time. In a thriller, this can go terribly wrong, but with Pannu, it doesn’t. She makes sure that her straight face emotions are intentional and it doesn’t look like she’s giving away too much.
In Game Over, Taapsee Pannu plays Swapna – a woman, obsessed with video games and is currently on a wheel chair. It’s a psychological thriller and much like Badla, Pannu holds her ground. Of course I watched the film in Hindi, because I don’t understand Tamil or Telugu, but Pannu overcomes the barriers of language to prove that in arts, the only language there is, is performance.
Mulk is one of Taapsee Pannu’s most layered performances, where she switches between being a family woman to being a force in the courtroom. At one moment, she is a homemaker and in the next, she is suddenly asked to assume the role of the family’s saviour. She has little to do in the first half of the film, and that’s a deliberate move, but she is the lifeline of the second half, and eventually the film. Pannu is a revelation in the court scenes.
Thappad is a personal favourite film – of Pannu, and even of this year, and while Anubhav Sinha should get a lot of credit for making this film how it is, it was Taapsee Pannu’s act that did wonders for me. In Thappad, Pannu plays Amrita with complete conviction. There’s a lot of silence in this character, and she beautifully captures that while delivering a strikingly nuanced performance. Over the years, Taapsee Pannu has mastered her art and proved to us that she is one of the best actresses we have. In Anubhav Sinha’s Thappad, she goes even beyond what she has done in the past. This is undoubtedly her career best performance, mainly because of the way in which she masters her silences.
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