Exclusive: “I’ll never play stereotypical characters in my career,” says Bhumi Pednekar


Bhumi Pednekar
Bhumi Pednekar

2019 has been a great year for Bhumi Pednekar, an actress who has gained wide recognition for pulling off a diverse range of characters with élan. She began the year with the release of Sonchiriya which did not work well at the box-office. However, in the last quarter of the year, she has had three releases – Saand Ki Aankh, Bala and now Pati Patni Aur Woh. While Saand Ki Aankh and Bala have already been declared hits, Pati Patni Aur Woh, which entered cinemas today, seems to have every ingredient required to pass the box-office test and hit a home run.

A few days before the release of the Mudassar Aziz directorial, Eastern Eye sat down with Bhumi Pednekar in Mumbai and tried to know more from her about her character in Pati Patni Aur Woh, whether or not she was skeptical about starring in the remake of an already successful film and much more. Excerpts…

 

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Bhumi, did you see the original film before or after signing the remake?

No, I have not seen the original film.

Brief us about the character that you are playing in Pati Patni Aur Woh?

If you have seen the trailer of the film, you must have realized that it is a totally different character than what I have done before in my career. So, I am playing the character of Vedika Tripathi. She is a very confident and ambitious girl who is constantly trying to make her life better. She wants to move to an even bigger city. She even motivates her husband to grow in life. She has groomed him a lot. She is the kind of girl who always tries to do something better in her life.

Usually, the kind of characters that I have played before in my career are bogged down by some societal pressures. Despite being confident, beautiful and all of that, they do not reach a certain mark in society, you know. But this is the first time in my career where I am playing the character who knows the effect she can create on the opposite sex. So, it was very refreshing to play such type of a character because, as I said before, I have not done something like that before.

Did you have to do any special preparation for the role?

This is the first time I have trimmed my hair for a role. Otherwise, I do not let anyone touch my hair. I am so touchy and obsessed with my hair. My producer and director convinced me a lot to cut my hair short for the role, so I thought let’s do it. I have looked different in all my films anyway. The same you can expect in Pati Patni Aur Woh as well.

 

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Apart from being a Patni, what is more to the character of Vedika Tripathi?

Vedika Tripathi is a teacher. Her approach towards life interested me a lot. She is the one who never complains about anything in life. Her confidence is at some other level. She knows that if she stands at Lucknow’s signal, the traffic will come to a standstill. Yes, she is so confident. She does not think very highly of herself, but she knows she has some x-factor in her. That’s why I really enjoyed doing this role because in my trajectory of work I have not done something like this before. I wanted to do all shebang of dance, song and all, because I have grown up watching films like these. Karishma Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, Madhuri ma’am, Sridevi ma’am, Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, these are the women I have seen and idolized. I have danced to their legendary songs.

So, I always wanted to do a powerful, commercial, mass film like Pati Patni Aur Woh. This film is playing to the gallery but, at the same time, it is not senseless, you know. Ever since the start of my career, I had been searching for a film which had the balance of both. This was such kind of script.

This is the first time in your career when you are doing a remake of an already successful film. Was there any apprehension before giving your nod to the project?

No, No, No, I am not scared of remakes. The thing was that since I had not seen the original film, I did not have any reference point. My process of choosing this film was also the same: I read the script and I really liked it a lot. I felt like doing this film and playing this character of Vedika Tripathi. Moreover, I wanted to collaborate with Kartik Aaryan. I find Ananya very sweet. So, when the makers told me about the star cast of the film, I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.”

We heard you were offered the film long ago.

Juno (Chopra) had been in talks with me regarding this film for quite a long time. But I was not sure back then because I was busy with other stuff. And every actor comes across this phase in their lives where they take time to process things and decide what to do next. Then I thought that it was an apt script and the casting of the film was another icing on the cake which convinced me to do this. I think when we three came together, it brought freshness to the film.

 

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Was there anything that you were skeptical about?

The only thought at the back of my mind was that I did not want to play a stereotypical wife. Because I have never played such a character before, neither I will do it ever in my career ahead, not even for the glamour quotient. The way this character has shaped up is amazing. It is not stereotypical at all. This is not the kind of wife that you have seen in films over the years.

Today, the audience has started accepting characters that are rooted in reality unlike before. How do you look at this change in cinema?

I think it is a very welcome change. People want to see “their” stories. Because we have celebrated fantasy for so many years, now we want real stories that happen around us. For example, when you see Kartik Aaryan’s Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (2018), you find all the characters are very relatable. What Ayushmann does is so real. He is on a roll because the scripts and characters that he chooses are so real. These are people who you and I are.

I think a very big advantage that we all have is the relatability factor. If you look at any of my characters, you can be like, “Oh, yeah, she can be my grandmother, she can be my sister and she can be my mother”, considering I have done them all now (laughs). This is relatability factor. I think that is a very big advantage where we are concerned. We have to thank the audience for it because they have made this change possible. The audience has started celebrating themselves finally. I feel really great when you see a hero and feel like, ‘Oh, it is like me’. ‘If she can be a heroine, I can be the one too’.

Had the makers offered you the character of “woh” (another woman) in the film, would you have accepted it?

Hundred percent! If I talk about the character of “who” in the film, she is a fantastic girl. She is a very empowered girl. She is a strong, confident and beautiful girl.

 

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You recently went to Busan International Film Festival and won an award. How has been the reaction there?

Amazing! I won an award at Busan for Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare. It was my first international award, and it was amazing. I have never seen an international audience react to any of my films like this, and the way they were reacting was amazing. They were flocking around Konkona and I, clicking pictures and asking for autographs. It was exactly the kind of response maybe the film would get in India or maybe even more because Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare is that kind of a film.

They understood the film completely. It was beautiful. Now I just want to go for these festivals all the time. The kind of love and respect art is given internationally, especially at these festivals, is something else. You know, you have the best from the world coming there. There was the filmmaker who made Shoplifters (2018). The director who made Parasite (2019) was there. These are the films that I have loved. I met an actress, the lead actress from Parasite, and I had like a fan moment with her. We were living on the same floor. Where will all this happen? I was surrounded by these amazing people and I was so excited.