Badla, featuring Taapsee Pannu and Amitabh Bachchan, directed by Sujoy Ghosh, which is an official remake of the Spanish drama 'The Invisible Guest' is slated to hit the theatres this weekend on International Women's Day. After 'Pink', the 2016 social drama which was invited for a special screening at the UN, the ace actors are back again and this time with a murder mystery. Prior to the movie's run at the box-office, Taapsee Pannu speaks to Asian Voice about women empowerment, feminism, and gender pay gap, issues that concern women even today.D How is Minal's character different from that of Naina Sethi?
Naina is an extremely sharp and smart woman. She is proud of her achievements because she is a self-made businesswoman, in a foreign country, Scotland, all by herself. She has worked hard to be in a position where she is today. Naina doesn't want the murder, which she is accused of, to hamper her personal and professional life. She does accept the fact that she is guilty of adultery but not of murder.
Whereas, Minal in Pink was in trouble and didn't know what to do about the precarious situation she was in until this man [Amitabh Bachan] surfaced and helped her out. Both Minal and Naina have this similarity of possessing this 'never giving up' attitude.
D Balance for better marks as this year's International Women's Day theme, do you think we would ever be able to root out the issue of gender-pay-gap in Bollywood?
Today, I still don't feel that I am in the position where I can attract the same footfall in the theatres as some of the male leading stars do, even if the film is shouldered on me. So, it is not fair on my part to demand the same salary as my male counterparts do. The day, people are going to flock to the theatres in a movie where I am the front-runner and because they want to see me is when I should be in the position to demand that equal salary.
D What are the biggest challenges that women in India face today?
There are many challenges that we [women] face today, the biggest- whenever we achieve something great, often the first narrative is that we must've taken some sort of a shortcut to be in that position. It is scrutiny of sorts that we have always been subjected to which unfortunately continues even today even if it has decreased over the time period.
But more importantly, the ideas of women empowerment and feminism have gone in the wrong direction, and part of our struggle also lies in ensuring that people have the right understanding of these concepts which focus around equality- nothing more and nothing less.
D Who is your female inspiration?
In the film industry, there are many women whose work I admire but outside of it, Indra Nooyi is the one woman who I look up to.
Indra Nooyi, the former PepsiCo CEO has recently joined Amazon's board of directors. Whereas, Pepsico's corn puff snack's brand Kurkure has signed Taapsee Pannu as its new brand ambassador. It is all about breaking the glass ceiling and these women seem determined in their stride in doing so. Badla releases on 8th March 2019.