Taapsee Pannu’s candid remarks on Telugu cinema’s fetishistic and sexist obsession with female navels and the tendency to throw objects at them is destined to annoy fans. In a session with the group East India Comedy, the lead actor of Pink and Naam Shabana revealed that she was highly unprepared for her debut in Telugu films despite having watched videos of fruit and flowers being hurled at Sridevi. “They threw a coconut at me,” the Delhi-born actor said. “I don’t know what is so sensuous about a coconut hitting my midriff.”
Pannu doesn’t name the director, but the accompanying song clip makes it clear that she is referring to K Raghavendra Rao, who cast her in the Telugu movie Jhummandi Naadam in 2010. Pannu has forged a decently successful career in Hindi films after headlining Telugu and Tamil productions, and it’s clear that she isn’t going to be cast in a Telugu movie any time soon.
Pannu’s revelations are the highlight of an otherwise ordinary session with EIC’s members Sapan Verma, Angad Singh Ranyal and Azeem Banatwalla. Even as the men cheer on Pannu’s feminist statements, they lapse into unthinking sexism of their own. There is a joke about sleeping with the maid; women are called “chicks”; Pannu’s midriff observation is met with the wisecrack that men usually look two inches above and below rather than at the waistline. That’s why these songs exist in the first place.

East India Comedy featuring Taapsee Pannu.