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'Let's make it a level playing field'

Lets make it a level playing field
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Mumbai: Bollywood star Taapsee Pannu on Friday said she hopes the impressive commercial run of her colleague Alia Bhatt's movie Gangubai Kathiawadi leads to more screens being allocated to movies fronted by women.

Released on February 25 in theatres, the crime drama, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, reportedly earned Rs 123 crore at the box office.

Speaking about the commercial success of Gangubai Kathiawadi at ABP Network's Ideas of India Summit, Pannu said she is happy to see how the scenario is changing slowly.

I was so glad that it happened (BO success of Gangubai Kathiawadi). It opens doors for ten other female-driven films. So, I heartily celebrate the fact that it happened. But I really hope in the future the number of screens that the film got, which is 3,000 screens, that happens too, Pannu said.

3,000 screens, which is at par with any hero film, should be given to a female protagonist as well, and then you see, why would it not collect numbers like the (hero's) movie. So, let's make it a level playing field, she added.

Citing the example of her 2019 mystery-thriller film Badla, which was released on 900 screens and earned Rs 90 crore, said there have been times when her films were given fewer screens as a hero's film was releasing at the same time.

I've got a lesser number of screens, so I have to prove my film's worth in the weekdays to overtake the other film, she said, without divulging the name of the film.

Pannu also pointed out the growing acceptance of films with female protagonists.

"Eight to ten years ago when I started, I would have never imagined that I will be doing protagonist roles even now," Pannu recalled.

I have heard that the season of a heroine doesn't last more than six years or so, post that one has to change to supporting roles or decide to walk out. I can do more and people want more to be seen, be it due to OTT or word of mouth. People are ready to watch films, but they still wait for word of mouth to happen (for female-driven films), she said.

Asked about Vivek Agnihotri's movie The Kashmir Files doing well at the box office despite some controversy over its contents, Pannu said, I see the numbers. Whatever might be the reason, however, it happened, the fact is that it happened.

The Kashmir Files, about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the 90s, has received polarised reviews from critics with them calling it a propaganda movie.

"If a small film like that can create those kinds of numbers (then) it can't be a bad film, you can question the intention of people, the means and all of that. That's subjective. You have a right to have an opinion. Let's agree to disagree. Let's settle at that," Pannu said.

On being asked about the constant pressure of being perfect in the show business, Pannu admitted the demands of the profession can be exacting.

It sometimes goes beyond the talent you have. It is a very hard position to be in, being judged and discussed on everybody's dining table, to live up to the requirement of being good in every household and because that's going to decide how long your career is going to go, she said.

It's one of the most mentally taxing professions to be in because my success and failure lie in the hands of other people. I'm not allowed to have bad days. I'm allowed to always be happy and be receptive to whatever is happening around, she added.

The actor said she has learned to accept it as the price one must pay to be in the profession because she enjoys being in front of the camera.

"You don't get the best of everything. This is the negative that comes with it that I swallow and it is not really good in taste. There is no solution. You have to get through it," she added.

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