Taapsee Pannu, a multilingual actor best known for content-driven Hindi movies such as Pink (review), Mulk (review) and Soorma (review), is becoming a hot favourite among brands wanting to connect with young aspiring Indians.

The model-turned-actor, who endorses 10 brands, has signed five big contracts this year, including with ride-hailing app Uber, hair colour product Garnier Color Naturals, ethnic wear brand Melange by Lifestyle, online insurance firm Coverfox and skincare brand Nivea.

Pannu earns 10-15 crore a year from endorsement deals, which include a mix of youth-centric brands targeted at consumers across metros and small towns. In a recent Uber ad, she plays herself, a 30-something independent working woman, who is constantly being told by her family to not venture out late at night. Pannu is seen convincing the viewer about Uber’s new safety toolkit, which ensures rider security.

“We believe Taapsee Pannu embodies the qualities of a modern Indian woman who is ready to take on challenging roles in movies, voices her opinions freely and inspires aspirational youth, especially women. She is responsible, hardworking and independent, like our riders. This association with Taapsee aims to draw attention to the safety toolkit features such as trusted contacts and location tags during emergency support," said an Uber spokesperson.

Pannu has a clean image with no controversies, making her appealing to a wider fan base. With no godfather in the industry, Pannu’s rise to stardom has been slow yet steady. She has carefully worked across films that highlight social issues, women’s rights and safety, which also lends itself to her brand associations.

In a recent ad campaign for Coverfox, Pannu not only inspires millennials to find the right insurance products online, but also manages to deal with catcallers.

Sachin Killawala, marketing director, Nivea India, feels Pannu represents an emerging India. The company appointed the actor as the face of its shower gel range this year.

“She is confident, authentic and caring. These are the values that resonate perfectly with Nivea. Her unassuming charisma coupled with a powerful personality make her a simple girl next door and an aspirational role model, both at the same time."

Pannu is currently in talks with brands across categories for endorsement deals. Manish Porwal, managing director, Alchemist Marketing and Talent Solutions, feels Pannu helps brands to not just hard sell products or services but also stand for something.

“Millennials are identifying with brands that stand for something and that is why actors like Pannu become crucial for brands that target young consumers. Pannu speaks her mind and comes across as a hardworking self-made woman who is relatable as well as aspirational—two key attributes that any youth-centric brand would like to leverage. Going forward, her brand value will soar."

Pannu has also recently bought a team in the Premier Badminton League, Pune Seven Aces, venturing into the business of sports and has Olympic gold medallist badminton player Carolina Marin on board.

“It’s a smart decision to invest in sports as more viewers are willing to watch tournaments beyond cricket. Pannu is keeping her options open. However, she has to deliver and keep making the right choices in her film career to keep up the momentum in the endorsement space," said Jigar Rambhia, national director, sports and entertainment partnerships, Wavemaker India.

The Delhi girl worked as a software engineer before starting her journey in the glamour world through modelling.

She made her film debut in Telugu cinema with Jhummandi Naadam in 2010 and ventured into Tamil, as well as Malayalam cinema, later. She has worked with A-list South Indian film stars such as Dhanush, Mammootty and Prabhas.

Although Pannu entered the Hindi film industry with a rather forgettable debut in Chashme Baddoor in 2013, her convincing portrayal of an undercover agent in Neeraj Pandey-directed Baby shot her to limelight. She continued the upward growth trajectory with National Award winning film on women rights, Pink, which also starred Amitabh Bachchan, besides delivering a blockbuster like Judwaa 2 (review) in 2016.

This year, Pannu has multiple releases with diverse roles, including sports drama Soorma, drama film Mulk and romantic comedy drama Manmarziyaan (review). Her forthcoming projects include Badla with Amitabh Bachchan, and Prakash Raj’s Hindi directorial debut Tadka.

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