Bhumi Pednekar (l) and Ayushmann Khurrana at a promotional event for ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan,’ in Mumbai, Aug. 1. (AFP/Getty Images)
Women-oriented films and strong female characters may be the latest trend in Bollywood, but Bhumi Pednekar believes society still holds regressive views towards a heroine, writes Shubha Dubey.
The 28-year-old actor, who delivered a Masterclass on ‘Breaking Stereotypes’ at the ongoing International Film Festival of India, says a strong and confident woman is always labelled as “difficult.”
In an interview with PTI, Bhumi says, “Everywhere in the society, even my extended family, when they got to know that I am going to be an actor, they were very worried because there is a lot of negativity attached to my craft or being a heroine.
“I feel in our culture, the girl, with any sort of power is called difficult or various words that are demeaning just because she has a voice, has confidence and stands for her rights. It is sad, but it is the truth of our country. Our culture hasn’t evolved much and we need to do something about it.”
The actor believes cinema for long has also failed women by viewing female characters according to the male gaze.
“In terms of the treatment of a female actor on-screen, we have gone backwards and how. We had actors like Devika Rani when cinema started in India and suddenly things became regressive. Women had nothing to do in films except praying for their husband’s well-being.
Bhumi, however, adds, “I am not against traditions, but they are not meant to be regressive… It is heartbreaking to see the kind of atrocities women are suffering across the globe. As human beings, we need to evolve with time and if you fail to do that, your existence will suffer.”
After her successful debut with “Dum Laga Ke Haisha,” the actor says she rejected around 23 scripts as the female character had nothing to do in the proposed projects.
Bhumi, however, is glad that after featuring in the role of an overweight woman in the Sharat Katariya-directed movie, she was not stereotyped.
“Cinema has the power to change the society. Through my films, the kind of characters I have played and will play, I am trying to do my bit in changing the patriarchal mindset. I am vocal about my thoughts which I think will somewhere help in bringing about a change.”
This year she delivered two hits – “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” and “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan” and Bhumi will soon start filming director Abhishek Chaubey’s next, titled “Chambal.”
The movie also features Sushant Singh Rajput.