“Discover the incredible versatility of Bhumi Pednekar as she takes on roles that are a complete departure from her real-life urban persona. From her dynamic performances to her ability to immerse herself in diverse characters, Bhumi proves time and again why she is a force to be reckoned with in Bollywood. Experience the magic as she transforms into captivating roles that push boundaries and showcase her exceptional talent. Explore the enchanting world of Bhumi Pednekar and witness her mesmerizing journey on-screen. Thank you for casting this extraordinary talent!”
Bhumi Pednekar: The Actress Who Shines in Non-Glamorous Characters
There are actors who truly embody the characters they portray on screen, breathing life into them in a way that their own selves pale in comparison. Bhumi Pednekar is one such rare talent. In just a year, she has transitioned from playing the glamorous Delhi girl, which she admits is closest to her real-life persona, in “Thank You For Coming,” to the de-glam, relentless Patna reporter in “Bhakshak.” And I must say, I would much rather watch her in the latter than in the former.
Bhumi has referred to her role in last year’s sex comedy, “Thank You For Coming,” as a “massive therapy session.” She revealed that it was a part that closely resembled her own conflicts in real life and required her to be more vulnerable than the de-glam roles she has become known for. “There was no padding, no layers to shield me. I felt very naked,” she said.
However, maybe vulnerability isn’t where Bhumi shines as an actress. Perhaps she needs the “padding” to deliver more impactful performances. Contrary to her belief, I don’t think I disliked her performance in “Thank You For Coming” because of her wardrobe choices. It could have been the male gaze or the awkward comic timing, but the film felt like a misfire because Bhumi was trying too hard when all she needed was her usual toolbox of skills to convey her character’s angst.
Let’s take, for example, her role as Kajal Yadav in Alankrita Srivastava’s “Dolly Kitty Aur Wo Chamakte Sitare.” Bhumi played a rural Bihar girl who moves to Noida and joins a late-night call center under the name of “Kitty.” This film, like “Thank You For Coming,” explores a girl’s journey to sexual empowerment. However, the expression on Bhumi’s face during her character’s first sexual encounter says more than two hours of self-pitying physical comedy in the other film ever could. It shows that a girl doesn’t need a man to find sexual fulfillment in her life.
Similarly, maybe Bhumi shouldn’t attribute the failure of “Thank You For Coming” to her wardrobe. Perhaps she simply needs another opportunity to hit the mark. If she wants to take cues from another actor who successfully portrayed late-night calls on screen, she should look at how Vidya Balan’s career took off. Despite being shamed for her Western fashion choices early in her career, Vidya found her own sweet spot and owned both her Indianness and sensuality in hits like “The Dirty Picture” and “Tumhari Sulu.”
It’s true that even in two other films where Bhumi explored similar glamorous and comic roles, her performances weren’t as praised. In “Pati Patni Aur Woh” and “Govinda Naam Mera,” Bhumi upped her oomph factor and flirted with comedy. However, she didn’t seem as comfortable in those roles. Perhaps, in trying to play those parts, Bhumi is ironically trying to be something she is not. Ironically, because that’s exactly what an actor is supposed to do.
Bhumi made her debut in 2015 as Sandhya in “Dum Laga Ke Haisha,” where she played a plus-sized, highly educated woman who marries a lanky shop owner. Just like Ranveer Singh was initially stereotyped as a “Dilli ka launda” before breaking the mold, Bhumi faced similar challenges. People were surprised to see her accept the debutante award looking lean and fit, breaking away from her on-screen image.
Stereotyping is not new in the Hindi film industry, especially when you start off in a role that is far removed from your own reality. Bhumi enjoys dressing up, even though her characters may have a more modest style. But if the same people who wouldn’t watch her interviews because of her “ultra-glam” appearance or her upscale Juhu-infested accent would actually pay for tickets to see her in roles that are different from herself, it’s a good problem to have.
Bhumi has proven time and again that she can convincingly portray a wide range of characters, from a gold medal-winning senior citizen shooter in “Saand Ki Aaankh” to a lesbian physical education teacher in “Badhaai Do.” If she is celebrated for roles that are devoid of vanity, such as “Sonchiriya,” “Bheed,” and “Afwaah,” and overlooked for a role she felt most at home in, it’s not a bad deal. Maybe Bhumi is still the casting assistant to Shanoo Sharma, learning from auditions and rooted characters that have rubbed off on her so much that she can’t go back to fully owning herself. Perhaps it has less to do with the audience’s gaze and more to do with her losing herself in characters that she isn’t.
If “Thank You For Coming” had successfully changed the audience’s perception of Bhumi, they wouldn’t have been heaping praises on her recent role as a Bihari independent journalist in “Bhakshak.” Maybe Bhumi shouldn’t try so hard to find herself in the roles she plays; instead, she should continue to lose herself in them.
In conclusion, Bhumi Pednekar is a talented actress who shines in non-glamorous characters. She has the ability to embody a wide range of roles and deliver impactful performances. It’s time for audiences to appreciate her versatility and embrace her for the talented actress she is, regardless of her on-screen appearance.