Creating her own niche

Amrita Prasad
Friday, 8 February 2019

In conversation with Bhumi Pednekar, who was in the city for the launch and promotion of a luxury watch brand, talks about her role in the multi-starrer dacoit drama Sonchiriya and how choosing a script or character is a conscious choice for her

From playing an overweight Sandhya in Dum Laga Ke Haisha; a small town but strong-willed Jaya who leaves her husband because her marital home does not have a toilet in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha; and Sugandha who deals with her fiancé’s erectile dysfunction in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, the three-film-old actress Bhumi Pednekar has already created a niche for herself in Bollywood. She has been a part of clutter-breaking films and has been essaying characters that have resonated well with the audience, especially women. 

She has been successful in the webspace too. In Netflix’s Lust Stories, she plays the ‘sexually active’ domestic help Sudhaa, which just proves that she can play any character with conviction. The actress, who is all geared up for the release of her upcoming multistarrer dacoit drama Sonchiriya, was in the city for the launch and promotion of a luxury watch brand Longines’ Record collection.  

Bhumi, who loves collecting watches and is extremely happy with her association with the brand, says, “I think this Record collection will do exceptionally well, especially during Valentine’s season because it reinstates the ethos that defines any strong relationship. The brand is classic and timeless.”

She feels watches are an important fashion accessory. “When going for a movie, I wear a pair of basic denims and a t-shirt, and to complete the look I wear a watch. Watches also have an emotional connection with the wearer because when you buy a watch, you invest a lot of emotional thought into it because it stays with you for a long time. Watches also speak a lot about your personality and I think it is an extremely versatile fashion accessory,” she adds. 

Bhumi plays Indumati in Sonchiriya, which is scheduled to release on March 1. The film is set in the Chambal region during Emergency. The film, which also stars Sushant Singh Rajput, Manoj Bajpayee, Ranvir Shorey and Ashutosh Rana, follows a group of warring dacoits on the run from a police officer. 
Talking about the film and its director Abhishek Chaubey, Bhumi says, “He was always on my bucket list, so I felt extremely honoured to be working with him. Sonchiriya is a hard-hitting adventurous film. In fact, this is my first action film and it’s also the first time that I held a gun; it felt so empowering. Set in Chambal, which is known for its harshness and lawlessness, it is an action revenge drama, but Chaubey has managed to find this beautiful humane story of hope and courage even in the grimmest of situations.” She adds that everything is realistic about the film.

The actress hasn’t played a glam diva or a damsel in distress so far. Ask her how does she choose her scripts and she says, “While growing up the environment at home was such that I was socially aware about what was happening around me at a very young age. And, with my first film (Dum Laga Ke Haisha), there was a certain turn that my career took and I am really happy about it. I feel fortunate that I already had a chance to work with some of the top directors in the country, that too, this early on in my career. Choosing the script/ character definitely is a conscious choice because the material that you choose is an extension of what your faith and beliefs are. Every character that I have played has a bit of me in her.”
Talking about her role in Lust Stories, the former casting director says that it was liberating for her to play the part. “You rarely get to see/ play a woman who has sexual desires on screen. I thought it was very empowering. And I was very confident that it would be done with a lot of class because Zoya Akhtar was directing it,” adds Bhumi. 

Ask her about her thoughts on the #MeToo movement, and she says it is high time that the predators were called out. “It really amazes me to see how we are having conversations about sexual harassment and disparity in pay on the basis of gender. I believe there’s no difference between a man and a woman — they are equals. Kudos to all those women who came out and spoke about their stories of sexual harassment, they have set an example for hundreds of other women. I really hope that some day, when I have a family, instances like these won’t happen,” shares she. 

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