If a character requires me to go bald, I am up for it: Bhumi Pednekar
Dum Laga Ke Haisha fame Bhumi Pednekar who was last seen in Akshay Kumar's Toilet: Ek Prem Katha talks about her next film and career
Bhumi Pednekar will next be seen with Ayushmann Khurrana in Shubh Mangal Savdhan, which is produced by Anand L Rai and directed by RS Prasanna. It is a remake of the director's Tamil comedy Kalyana Samayal Saadham. The actress talks about her work on this film as well as her career.
You took a brave step by gaining weight for your first film; did you expect that people would accept you?
I had no idea if people would accept me, my character, the film (Dum Laga Ke Haisha) or even the love story between an overweight girl and a guy who’s a complete failure, but it was a very pleasant surprise to see the way they did.
These days each actress is body shamed on social media. Do you find yourself lucky as you were not, during your debut?
I think I wasn’t because the film was about body shaming and image shaming; only a ridiculously stupid person would have body shamed me. I just got lucky as I was a part of such a film, and I was open about my weight and not ashamed about it in any way.
Would you again take that step for any other film?
It was equally tough to lose the weight as it was to gain it, but I would definitely do it, as I believe in transforming myself physically for every role. I don’t know if I would go through that big a transformation anytime soon though, as I have lost over 30 kilos now. It’s hard on the body and is also very time-consuming. Also a woman has to work on it three times as hard as a man, and I did it completely naturally too. Maybe later in my career, I can think about it.
To what extent you would change yourself for a role?
I don’t know but the extent that I went to for Dum Laga Ke Haisha was very extreme. In acting, I feel that is the most extreme that a person can go. Of course, I know there are actors that have done insane things for their roles. I believe in method (acting) and I will and can go that far. If a character requires me to go bald why not, I am up for it. It’s my hair it will grow again and if not I’ll wear a wig. We are in 2017 and we have a solution for everything.
Shubh Mangal Savdhan talks about erectile dysfunction...
This issue has been there since mankind started, but people just don’t speak about it. If a man has an erectile dysfunction issue, people start calling him impotent or start questioning his manhood. This film speaks about that and says your manhood doesn’t depend on your performance in bed, it depends upon how you treat the women around you, how polite and respectful you are and what kind of a human being you are.
How was your experience of working with Anand L Rai?
Amazing! Anand sir is such a bundle of joy. He is one of the nicest people that I have met in the fraternity. He is so talented and I have been such a big fan of his work. It’s an honour to be a part of this film. That he is producing such a film, about a taboo subject, in such a clean way, says a lot about him. I have to congratulate my writer and my director for achieving this. They are geniuses to make a family entertainer that speaks about a sexual issue.
Do you feel you have made your presence felt in the industry now?
I think so, yes. With my first film itself I think I really made my presence felt within the fraternity for sure. Now my latest film, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, has reached a lot more people and I have made my presence felt with the audience too.
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha received mixed reviews...do you feel the audience could connect to it?
In fact, I think the audience connected with the film the most, and that is why we have done the kind of numbers that we have in just five days. The mixed reaction was more from the fraternity and the critics, and that's fine. Critics can pinpoint your weaknesses and I take everything as constructive criticism. I still want to thank them for watching the film.
It has been three years now since you started your career. The viewers and filmmakers have expectations from you...does that make you nervous?
I am always nervous when it comes to my films. I was during both my films so far, and I will be nervous for Shubh Mangal Savdhan too. But it is a collaborative effort. The fate of a film isn't just dependent on me. My films have done well because they have a strong director, story, and star cast. I do my part by doing my job correctly. Also, I get motivated if people have expectations from me. I am glad that they have faith in my craft.
I have done Bombay Talkies (2) with Zoya (Akhtar). I am not aware of its release date yet. But working with her was super liberating. It’s a short film of 27 minutes and the theme is of love and lust.
Whose work inspires you the most?
I adore Priyanka Chopra. I think she is brilliant. I admire her for the kind of woman that she is, and not just the professional work she has done.
Would you like to follow her and delve into music as well as films?
I think as a singer you need to be god gifted. I do sing, but I don’t know how good I am. I feel I am more of a bathroom singer.