She has received appreciations from critics and audiences alike for films like PINK, NAAM SHABANA and JUDWAA 2, but actress Taapsee Pannu, who has been described as the "most powerful woman of the year" by a magazine, says she is yet to touch stardom and still feels like a struggler.
Considering her achievements, does she feel she has gained stardom?
"Not at all. I don't even feel like a star. I still feel like a struggler because I need to really work hard and make sure that my Friday works for me. I still don't feel I am the one who will get the audience into theatres as yet. I don't see that I have that pull, I am trying to make that," Taapsee told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
She started her career as a model in 2008 and made her acting debut with Telugu film JHUMMANDI NAADAM in 2010. Three years later, she stepped into Bollywood with CHASHME BADDOOR.
"The day I feel my audience is taking a ticket of my film and says 'It's Taapsee's film, let's go and watch it', that day I will believe I am a star, before that no," she added.
She has featured in a myriad of genres like comedy, thriller, drama, courtroom drama and romance.
Asked if she is trying to balance between genres, she said: "Of course yes, that is the idea behind mixing things up because I feel if I keep doing hard-hitting films which people (the audience) have loved me in and I am very happy about it, I feel people will stereotype me. They will start calling me that I am someone who does only these kind of not so mainstream cinema."
The actress says she does not want to get pigeonholed in a particular genre.
"I don't want them (the audience) to stereotype me because then the impact of these hard-hitting films will die down after a time because they would know what they would expect out of me. So, the fun is to mix and match because then you don't know what you are coming up with next," she added.
Taapsee, 30, is riding the burgeoning wave of films with female lead or co-lead roles with films like BABY, NAAM SHABANA and PINK. She feels confident that it is a trend going in the right direction and will continue.
Talking about the swift change from male to female lead actors in films, Taapsee said: "Of course efforts have been made and I am so happy to see each and every leading lady trying to make an effort to do a female-centric film. I think it's a good way to begin at least to be open to taking risks and chances."
The actress said that when she made her debut, she only saw particular actresses, who weren't termed as mainstream heroines and doing female-centric movies.
"But within four years, you can see such a huge change where all the female A-listers, mainstream actresses today are doing at least one female-centric film a year which is so beautiful to see and the result of it is at par as the male-centric film but at least it is headed towards the right direction," she added.
Taapsee also credits the audience for the positive shift.
"We are giving the audience content and the audience is slightly opening up I feel... At least they are giving us little bit of an opportunity. We just need to make sure to do good films as female protagonists as the audience continues to believe in us," she added.
[By Durga Chakravarty]