Tamannaah: South accepted me as their own, hoping the north belt accept me with Babli Bouncer

The Mumbai-born Punjabi-Sindhi, who has found success in Tamil, Telugu cinema, feels like she is being relaunched by director Madhur Bhandarkar.

Tamannaah Bhatia at the trailer launch of Babli Bouncer [2022]

By Mayur Lookhar

In a time when remakes are arriving by the dozen, and toppling like ninepins, a fictional, original story on the life of a female bouncer does comes as a breath of fresh air. Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar is largely known for his strong, feminist films. He did try the odd comedy – Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji [2011] – but with little success. He’d hope to change that around with Babli Bouncer [2022] – a fictional tale on one female bouncer from Haryana.

Mumbai-born, South Indian actress Tamannaah Bhatia has flirted with Hindi films but is perhaps yet to find her footing in the big competitive world of Bollywood. She didn’t hesitate in terming this film as a relaunch.

“I feel [director] Madhur Bhandarkar has relaunched me. I’ve done lot of films, but never have I got to play a character who is a Haryanvi Jaat [community]. That is close to my heart because my sister-in-law is Haryanvi. I take inspiration from her. We, the world, every human has gone through a tough time during the pandemic. I believe there are very few films that inspire people, and leave them with a smile on their face,” Bhatia said at the trailer launch in Mumbai on 5 September.

Usually, be it cricket field or club houses, most people like to evade a bouncer. Will this bouncer be friendly and bubbly or does one need still need to be careful?

“My idea is to go bouncing right into your hearts. So that is my intention with this movie,” said Bhatia.

Often when female artistes play such characters, there is a certain physicality attached to it. Bhatia, though, pointed out that the purpose of their film is to break free from the cliches that are associated with a particular character.

“A woman’s physical capabilities are always questioned versus her emotional strength. Physical strength of a woman has hardly been shown as much as her emotional strength. There’s always a question the moment she plays a physically strong character,’ Bhatia says, “(Also) when she plays a physically strong character, then one thinks – how should she look? There are so many cliches that this film is trying to break in a happy, chilled out way.There is always a definition around how women should be perceived. If she wants to do a certain physical job, then she is required to look in a certain physical way, why? She can be who she wants to be. I think, everyone will love this film for that.”

Honestly, in our experience, we’ve seldom seen female bouncers. So, does a female bouncer only take care of unruly female guests, or is this is a unisex service?

“Well, what we have here is that she is primarily for female guests. Of course, when the occasion calls for it, she can make an exception,” Bhatia said with a smile.

If one looks at Bhatia’s career, she’s largely made a name in South Indian films, and done the odd Hindi film with little success. The popular actress is hoping to turn a new corner in her Bollywood career. Bhatia expressed this desire while answering a question on whether she roped in any dialect coach for Babli Bouncer?

I’m not even a South Indian, but the audience accepted me as their own, after I learnt Tamil and Telugu. I’m hoping through this film, the north belt, too, would accept me,” said the 32-year-old actor.

She waxed praise on the Haryanvi culture, and likes the sense of humour of the region.

She says, “I’ve largely worked in Tamil, Telugu cinema, and done few Hindi films, but Haryanvi, I find it unique. They have an innate sense of humour. I find that very endearing. Through this film, we’ve tried to imbibe the Haryanvi humour and the culture.”

Babli Bouncer [2022] is set to be released on Disney+Hotstar on 23 September.

Watch the trailer below.

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