Actor Bhumi Pedneker believes she is the product of changing times in the country and the film industry, where female artistes are no longer relegated to the roles of damsel in distress. Pednekar started her journey in Hindi cinema on a promising note with critically-acclaimed “Dum Laga Ke Haisha” in 2015 and has made a mark for herself in films such as “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” (2017), “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan” (2017), “Bala” (2019), and “Sandh Ki Aankh” (2019) Durgamati Song Heer: Malini Awasthi Lends Her Soulful Voice to Bhumi Pednekar’s Bittersweet Track (Watch Video)
The actor next features in Durgamati, a film that the actor believes is again unconventional for her. “I’m a damsel who gives others distress. I feel that the narrative has definitely changed tremendously over the last few years. There are some really strong female characters that are being written and rightly so,” she told PTI in an interview. Durgamati Song Baras Baras: Bhumi Pednekar’s Romantic Melody Sung by B Praak Is Out Now (Watch Video)
Pedneker said that the films should not pander to a particular gender and instead they should have a universal appeal and that was one of the reasons for her to accept “Durgamati. It’s also the time, she said, when films are not divided into categories of male-centric or women-centric. “A film is a film. It’s centred around a character and a storyline.
Our audiences need to accept female-oriented films as well. They need to be ok with women characters doing all the heroic things that they’re usually fine with, if it is done by men. “I think that’s important and that is happening. Whatever films I have done in the past, I believe I’m a product of the changing narrative and the changing audiences,” she said.
“Durgamati”, backed by superstar Akshay Kumar, revolves around a government officer who is made the victim of a major conspiracy involving powerful forces. Directed by Ashok, the movie is the Hindi remake of Telugu horror film “Bhaagamathie”, which featured “Baahubali” star Anushka Shetty.
What struck Pedneker the most about the movie was the canvas it provided to her in terms of performance.
“We rarely see women-led films where the lead character has so much heroism. The canvas that the film has given me, you rarely see that. I wanted to do something that’s larger-than-life, something that is traditionally done by male actors and stars. “I wanted to do a film which blurs that division between both the genders. It’s a film that has given me the opportunity to give the performance of a lifetime,” she added.
Taking over the titular role from Shetty for the Hindi version was a monumental task for Pednekar but the actor is confident that she has brought something “unique and original” to the character. “I do this with all of my films. I never really go by an example or look for a reference. This is a remake and there is a certain performance that has been loved and that has already been seen.
I had seen ‘Bhaagamathie’, when it released and there was no talk of ‘Durgamati’ then. “So I actually enjoyed watching the film and I really wished that a film like this was made in Hindi because the canvas it gives to the actors is really great. It’s very experimental and only pushes the boundaries.”
The movie was previously titled “Durgavati” but before the launch of its official trailer last month, the name was changed to “Durgamati”. When asked about the reason for the title change, Pednekar said, “The makers saw the film and they had this thought that ‘Durgamati’ goes better with the essence of the film. It’s a voluntary decision and not a drastic change.” Looking back at her five-year-old journey in cinema, the actor said all of her characters are special to her.
“The person that I am today is the sum total of all those experiences. I feel I have always stood for empowerment. I have always played roles that are strong and the films always had strong messaging, which is about women standing up for their rights. “The reason I do these roles is so that I can inspire other women and I hope that my characters become role models,” Pednekar added. “Durgamati”, which also features Arshad Warsi, Jisshu Sengupta and Mahie Gill, will release on Amazon Prime Video on Friday.
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