I’m a curious person, to begin with. I want to know why, how, what, where of everything and anything. This is one of the reasons I like watching and reading interviews. Actors reveal so much of themselves in it – their candid side, their fears, their desires, their limits, etc. In fact, I believe the more the actors in an interview, the better isn’t it? Which is why this will not come as a surprise that I ended up watching the Actors’ Roundtable hosted by Netflix to celebrate the performances that stirred up a storm in the Indian film industry. In fact, it is in this roundtable where Taapsee Pannu, who we saw in the movie Haseen Dillruba, and Raveena Tandon, who made her OTT debut in the series Aranyak, opened up about their biggest fear – working with a confused director – and went on to talk about how at times it is the actors who have to bear the brunt of it.
In the recent Actors’ Roundtable 2021 hosted by Netflix, Taapsee Pannu and Raveena Tandon said that one of their biggest fears is not understanding the director’s vision. The two of them further agreed on the fact that it is the actors who at times bear the brunt because of confused directors. The roundtable included actors like Tovino Thomas—fresh off the success of his Malayalam superhero flick Minnal Murali — Taapsee Pannu, Raveena Tandon, Konkona Sensharma, Adarsh Gourav, and Sanya Malhotra.
Speaking about confused directors, both the actors – Raveena Tandon and Taapsee Pannu – said that the audience often judges and criticise the actors for the way they approach a character, whereas most of the time it is the directors who instruct them to do so.
While in a discussion with Rajeev Masand during the Actors’ Roundtable 2021, Raveena Tandon said, “There are times when the director’s confused. Achha aise nahi, chalo aise try karte hai (Not this, let’s try something else). But we can’t do that sir, because this is the attitude that’s needed. Then at that time, you are conflicted in your mind that what does he really want from the character. Does he want it this way or does he want it that way? And then it becomes a little bit of a muddle, mess.”
Taapsee Pannu further emphasised this point when she was asked whether a discussion takes place on how to approach a character before the shoot begins. The Rashmi Rocket actress said, “ They do, but on set, it suddenly abruptly changes. This has happened at times that we have discussed and thought that ‘ok, this should be the approach of the character’ and then you reach the set and (told to) react like that (in a different way). But then I say that ‘it’s not in line with the discussion that we had before’. (The director says), ‘no, in this situation just react, just do as I say’. This scares me. You have to at least tell me so that I know the graph in my head — where I start, where I am ending, what’s my next shot. Where do I pick up the emotion of the next shot? You can’t just say ‘Ye bhi karlo, wo bhi karlo, jo better hoga wo dekhlenge’ (do this, do this as well, we will take the better shot). This scares me.”
Raveena Tandon then went on to agree with Taapsee Pannu, stating that at the end of the day it is the actors who suffer the brunt. The Aranyak actress said that the reviews criticise the actors for portraying the characters in a certain way, but how is it their fault when they were asked to do it in that way. Taapsee also added the point wherein during the edit a transition shot is taken out because the director feels it’s not needed and then she gets criticised for not showing a transition of emotion – that was actually present in the shot that was edited.
You can watch the roundtable here:
Hearing the Actors’ Roundtable, one thing that I can clearly see is that it takes a lot of effort to make a movie but I can safely say that it also takes a lot of effort to be an actor. And I do agree with their points where the actor is the one who gets criticised the most, even when it’s someone else’s fault.