After her short stint in Neeraj Pandey’s ‘Baby’ with Akshay Kumar, Taapsee Pannu was pleasantly surprised when she was offered the spin-off of her character, Shabana. As the film ‘Naam Shabana’ clocks four years of release today, ETimes got in touch with the actress, who, in an exclusive interview, opened up about all the love she received for her character, working with actors like Akshay Kumar and Manoj Bajpayee, and more. Excerpts…
‘Naam Shabana’ completes four glorious years today. How do you look back at it?
After my debut film, I think this was the next big pleasant thing that happened to me. When you are a newcomer, it is usually you who are trying to get into a film, a good project. Just like my debut, this, too, came as a surprise to me. This was purely in response to my character in ‘Baby’. It is the love and the interest that everyone had in knowing about that character that made this film possible. I was so surprised that I told my producers that I won’t believe this is happening until I go to the sets and start shooting.
It was the first spin-off movie ever seen in Hindi cinema. How different was your experience shooting for this one?
I felt the pressure of delivering my best every day and I did. I knew this was going to be a game-changer for me, if done well. It was a spin-off of a character from ‘Baby’ so the expectation of that film was also riding on this. I was aware of that every day. I tried my best to deliver on all the action sequences although I have not been an audience of action in my life. I treat action movies like sports. So, I learnt action for this film too like a sport and performed it. I don’t enjoy hitting people. So, there was this mental block also to overcome.
You surprised one and all with your 7-8 min sequence in ‘Baby’. Did you anticipate then that there would be a prequel to it, starring you?
No, I never anticipated that there would be a prequel starring my character from ‘Baby’. I was happy with the acknowledgment I got for that 7-8 min role. When I took up ‘Baby’, I knew I was going to play a very small part in it but I wanted to make sure people remember me when they walk out of the theatres. That is all that I wanted from the film. This was never on my wish-list. It came as a total surprise. It almost made me feel that the audience is eventually the Godfather of the people who do not have one in the industry. That part has stood the test of time for me from then till now.
How was it working with Akshay Kumar and Manoj Bajpayee?
I had shared screen space with Akshay sir first in ‘Baby’ and then in ‘Naam Shabana’. After that, I got a chance to work with him again in ‘Mission Mangal’. It is a delight. He is very inspiring. He is very professional. He comes on time, does his work, and creates good vibes on the sets for everyone. You enjoy the time you spend with him on the set. I learnt that from him. He once told me you should keep working, doing movies and not overthink about things. I am literally following exactly that now.
News Source: TOI