Women's Victimhood is Celebrated in Indian Films: Taapsee Pannu

Echoing her character's line from Thappad, Taapsee said all people want are happiness and respect.

2 min read
Taapsee Pannu speaks about her character in Thappad.

Taapsee Pannu, Deepika Padukone, Tillotama Shome and Janhvi Kapoor recently spoke about how they ensured that dignity is not mistaken for self-pity while playing their respective characters in Thappad, Chhapaak, Sir and Gunjan Saxena. The actors were part of the 'Actresses Roundtable 2020', hosted by film critic Rajeev Masand.

Talking about roles of women in Indian films, Taapsee Pannu said,

"Victimhood is celebrated a lot when it comes to the roles of women in films in India. We have grown up seeing that it always has to be the 'abla naari' or the other extreme of being the vamp. There are rarely things in between which make us feel and look real in films".

Taapsee added that being a victim is okay up to a certain point, but it is also very important that there is something more to the part. "When you are a victim of something, what is it that you learn from the incident? You realise that it's your dignity that matters the most and then you put up a good fight. This makes me think about a line from Thappad - 'All that Amrita wanted was dignity and respect'. In reality, we too want happiness and respect. I am glad people are slowly waking up to this realisation".

Citing Malti's example from Chhapaak, Deepika Padukone told Rajeev Masand that the actor also adds to a particular character. "When it comes to dignity, that particular layer comes from me. And I am not someone who has ever done anything for pity. Secondly, it also comes from sharing an empathy with my characters and understanding their lives. So why should it not have that layer? Why should it come from a place of pity?".

Tillotama Shome echoed the same thoughts. "As far as Ratna (her character from Sir) is concerned, pity is the small change that she doesn't want. Because she doesn't look at herself as a victim and that's why she is so happy. Tillotama has a lot to learn from Ratna. I am the one who has had issues with my dignity, sense of self with all my fancy degrees. It's great to get a chance to play these characters who brush off on you".

Shome further said that the rich needs to be pitied for the kind of shallow thoughts they harbour.

"As far as dignity is concerned, it's not the cultural capital of the rich. There are people who have lots of money but absolutely no dignity. Dignity cuts through class and to see someone who owns that was so liberating to play. I feel it's the rich and privileged who need to be pitied for looking at Ratna and saying, 'Wow she is a maid and she has such big dreams!' I pity their idea of who is entitled to have dreams".
Tillotama Shome, Actor.

Even Janhvi Kapoor said that her character Gunjan Saxena was trying to shatter the archaic notion that women need to be looked at with pity.

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