'Every woman should believe she is a lady killer because that's the only way she can gain the confidence to achieve whatever she wants in life.'
After giving women an important message, Bhumi Pednekar gets candid about the movies that have made a difference, and why she considers Rajkummar Rao the sister she always wanted!
"It's very important to put out your authentic, original self in front of people because that's the only way they will accept you and celebrate your true potential," Bhumi tells Rediff.com Senior Contributor Roshmila Bhattacharya.
After being locked in our homes through months of lockdown during the pandemic, regular holidays in exotic lands have become par for the course. You welcomed the year in Tulum and your pictures from one of the most Instagrammed spots in Mexico gave us some serious vacation goals.
(Smiles) It was a well-deserved vacation because 2022 was a really busy year.
I finished shooting six films which, now that I think about it in hindsight, is a large number.
I had three releases.
Mexico is very beautiful, nothing short of a paradise.
I was there for 10 days, but even that's too short.
I love Mexico, the food, the people, the beaches... I can't wait to go back.
Where will you head for your next vacation?
I honestly don't know.
I try taking a break towards the end of the year so I think it should be somewhere around that time.
The pandemic must have been a much-needed break for you, given how busy you were even back then.
Yes, after my first film, I did not slow down till the pandemic was upon us and all of us had to slow down.
A part of me that I really put out full throttle during that time was my love for beauty and fashion which came as a big surprise to people because of the films I usually do.
And the moment I put that out, my brand changed, my films changed.
I realised that it's very important to put out your authentic, original self in front of people because that's the only way they will accept you and celebrate your true potential.
Is there an interest or a hobby that you got time for when locked in?
Honestly, for me, the first lockdown was easy and I had time for everything generic, from cooking and reading to watching content.
I had become very disconnected from a lot of content that was out there because I never had the time.
I was also working out three hours a day at home.
The second lockdown, because of all the COVID warrior work that I did, was a very busy time.
When one scrolls through the list of your upcoming films, what catches the eye are the intriguing titles. There's one called Lady Killer and you are one even in real life.
(Laughs) Thank you so much.
Every woman should believe she is a lady killer because that's the only way she can gain the confidence to achieve whatever she wants in life.
You have to love yourself.
There's another film called Afwaah...
That one is with Sudhir (Mishra) sir, who has always been in my bucket list because he is such a fine film-maker.
I remember watching Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi when I was young and it left such a huge impact on me. I have always wanted to be a part of a film that belongs to the Sudhir Mishra school.
He is a phenomenal person to work with, given how knowledgeable he is.
Also, he writes his women characters so well.
He has always told me that while his films do make a social comment, his first job as a director is to entertain his audience.
Afwaah has been a most fulfilling journey, one that I will always cherish.
What's the weirdest rumour you have heard about yourself?
It's something as basic as my sister Samiksha and I being twins.
I don't know how this rumour started but it's insane how many people believe it.
I have to tell them, 'Nahin yaar, we are a couple of years apart.'
Even the media has often referred to Samiksha as my twin sister.
It's really weird!
Your choice of roles has always been unconventional and unique. Is there any one film in recent times that has stood out for a particular reason?
I would say my upcoming film Bheed.
It's a story that I wanted to be a part of.
Usually, I go behind characters but after a very long time, irrespective of what I am doing in the film, I wanted to be a part of this journey, this school of cinema.
After a very long time, I have done a film for the love of just being a part of a good film.
You have had some really great co-stars, be it Ayushmann Khurrana, Sushant Singh Rajput, Rajkummar Rao, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Taapsee Pannu or Konkona Sen Sharma.
Yes, it's very exciting for me to have an actor who does as much as I do as it elevates my performance.
Acting is all about reacting and I'm always up for a healthy challenge.
Which co-star has been the most fun to work with?
Rajkummar Rao and Arjun Kapoor are two people I really get along with and I would like to believe we are really good friends.
He will kill me for saying this, but Raj is like the sister I always wanted.
Arjun is such a well-wisher, one of the most genuine people I worked with.
I wish both of them much love.
With Raj you recently did a really beautiful film, Badhaai Do. What is it about the film that will stay with you forever?
I was missing the experience that my first film had given me.
I experienced that all over again with Badhaai Do.
Right from the shoot, we knew we were working on something very special.
It was a fight close to my heart because I have had friends and family from the LGBTQ community.
I have empathised with them, tried advocating their cause as much as possible but I always felt I wasn't doing enough.
I realised the best way to give back is through my craft.
Badhaai Do was not just about being vocal and making a point, it is such a beautiful story that holds you.
I feel so fortunate that Raj and I could be a part of this film and do justice to the subject in whatever way.
After its release, so many people who belonged to the community, and also outside it, have walked up to me, cried... it's an emotional roller coaster.
Raj and I had gifts sent to our homes and letters written to us.
We tried sharing most of it because we wanted people to know that this is the impact of good cinema. It lives on forever and leaves behind a legacy.