It’s unfortunate that no sport in India is as celebrated as cricket: Soorma actor Taapsee Pannu

Soorma actor Taapsee Pannu on her brush with sports, working on a biopic and sharing screen space with Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan in her upcoming films.

Taapsee Pannu will be seen playing hockey on screen in her upcoming film Soorma that is based on the life of hockey legend Sandeep Singh. In an exclusive chat with, Taapsee discussed her brush with sports, working on a biopic and sharing screen space with Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan in her upcoming films.

Ask Taapsee her reaction when she first heard Soorma’s script, and she says, “I consider myself a sports enthusiast. When I was told about Sandeep Singh’s accident and his comeback as the captain of Indian hockey team, I felt guilty that I did not know of this. And the only way I thought I could redeem myself from this guilt is by doing this film and letting the world see what true sportsman spirit is.”

She further adds, “Hockey as a sport has a mass appeal since it is popular in lots of rural and urban parts of India. Though at one point it was celebrated, unfortunately, no sport in India is as celebrated as cricket. So when we have an unbelievable but true story of a hockey star, I felt being a part of this film is important as the story will evoke our love for hockey again.”

Taapsee Pannu plays a hockey player in Soorma. In fact, her character in the film is the reason that Sandeep Singh, played by Diljit Dosanjh, takes up hockey. So what was the preparation like and had she played hockey before? “Well, I didn’t know hockey at all. I had watched it on TV sometimes when I used to sit with dad as he used to play hockey for DU (Delhi University). But I had never held a hockey stick before. I have always been keen to learn new sports and when you are keen to learn something new, I guess you grasp it faster. As it is I regularly play squash. So the body language, the physic of a sportsperson as such were not big a deal for me,” says the actor.

What was the real challenge as an actor for you in Soorma? Pat comes her response, “Playing Harpreet on the field wasn’t as difficult for me than playing her off-field. For the on-field behaviour, you have references as you watch women hockey on TV. But for off the field, I had no reference point as they don’t show that on TV. Therefore, I did not know what she was like off-field. Shaad sir (Shaad Ali) and me worked together to give her a different layer off the field. So on the field, she is like this tigress and go-getter. But off-field she is a coy, simple village girl, which was totally different from her on-field personality. So that was something that I had to do research on and prepare as I haven’t played a village girl before. It was interesting for me.”

Moving on to her upcoming projects, the trailer of Mulk, starring Taapsee Pannu, Rishi Kapoor and Ashutosh Rana, was out a couple of days back. But did you know that Taapsee has also choreographed a song in the film? In times when actors are turning into singers, did she kick off an alternative? The actor bursts into laughter, “Oh come on, it’s not like that I am doing some swanky dance moves. It so happened that Anubhav (Sinha) sir did not want any choreographed dance performances and wanted our celebratory dance to look real. The occasion was that it’s a birthday party and all the women in the house dance to the music that’s playing. So I just had to do the dance that we do at a house party with mummies and aunties. Hence, I won’t say it was choreography, but it was having enjoying an impromptu dance performance with the cast.”

Taapsee is currently busy shooting in the remote villages of Scotland for her next Badla with Amitabh Bachchan and Sujoy Ghosh. She recently wrapped up Manmarziyaan with Abhishek Bachchan. Having worked with the father and son duo, who is she more close to? And how similar or different are they as co-stars? She says, “In some ways, they are like each other. Like the way they sit, will remind you of the other. Also when Abhishek was performing intense scenes, suddenly you realise that his voice texture sounds like Bachchan Sir. But that’s about it. Otherwise, they are totally different actors and different kind of people. My equation is different with both. I am more buddy like with Bachchan sir than with Abhishek. It’s also my second film with Sir, so maybe that’s why. But I love Abhishek’s sense of humour.”

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