Bhumi Pednekar left the audience in awe with her stunning debut in 2015, with the movie Dum Laga Ke Haisha. Ever since, the actress has chosen ground-breaking scripts that have redefined Bollywood cinema. Her choices stray away from what society labels as generic. She has been known to play characters that are plus-sized, older in age, and belong to the LGBTQIA+ community. As an actor in Bollywood, she has made her own mark in less than a decade with her powerful choice of scripts.
Speaking about her unconventional roles in an interview with a leading publication, Bhumi Pednekar said, “I always try to give a look at the character that doesn’t remind you of anybody else.” She also added, “The idea is to constantly challenge myself, push boundaries, to give the audience something new and exciting every time they come to watch a film that I am in.”
As the actor turns a year older today, we take a look at some of her most unconventional movie choices.
Dum Laga Ke Haisha
Bhumi Pednekar’s Bollywood debut is marked by Dum Laga Ke Haisha. A movie that gave her an everlasting impression in the industry, as an unconventional artist. The Sharat Katariya directorial, starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar, centres around marriage and its complications. This movie won Pednekar her first Filmfare Award for Best Debut Female. The movie shows that love can spark when you least expect it and follows the journey of Prem and Sandhya in their married life. It all begins when Prem’s parents decide to get him married off to alleviate financial tensions. However, Prem dismisses Sandhya at first sight. His neglect of Sandhya continues throughout their marriage.
Soon, the female lead expresses that she does not feel that Prem cares for her, and the couple have arguments. The situation keeps getting worse, until Sandhya reveals that she has made a decision to file for divorce and that she is perfectly capable of living alone. The duo reunite after the court gives them the order that they must stay together for six months and give their marriage a shot. Bhumi plays the role of a woman who is not attractive according to the standards of society. The movie beautifully portrays how a woman who is not labelled as attractive is not given a shot at love. Bhumi Pednekar wins over the audience with her brilliant performance and striking personality.
Saand Ki Aankh
Saand Ki Aankh is a biographical movie directed by Tushar Hiranandani, starring Bhumi Pednekar and Taapsee Pannu. The movie is an inspiring tale based on the lives of sharpshooters Chandro and Prakashi Tomar. Both Chandro and Prakashi Tomar are hailed as the oldest sharpshooters. The movie speaks volumes about determination and the human spirit as these two actors take you on a rollercoaster journey. The movie begins as Chandro and Prakashi make the decision to deceive their husbands and leave the village for a shooting tournament in the backdrop of the 90s. It follows their lives as they pick up guns at the age of 60 and go on to bag multiple medals in shooting. The actors have displayed their acting prowess and comic timing while playing the roles of 60-year-old women. The ease with which they have carried firearms in movies is commendable.
With its storyline, the movie subtly brings up social issues of gender discrimination and patriarchy. The movie was hailed as a feminist statement and received critical acclaim. Taapsee and Bhumi both received rave reviews for their feisty performances. The movie is a must-watch to gain an insight into the determination of these women to fight against male dominance in society as well as in the sport.
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is a satirical comedy starring Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar. The movie supports government campaigns to improve sanitary conditions in India, where special emphasis is laid to the eradication of open defecation. This practice is prevalent especially in parts of rural India. The movie follows Akshay Kumar’s character Keshav and Bhumi Pednekar’s character Jaya who fall in love and decide to get married. Jaya moves to Keshav’s village Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh where she finds out that toilets did not exist. She returns agitated after finding out that she would have to go to a field to openly defecate. Even after repeated convincing from Keshav’s end, she remains adamant about her decision to return to Nandgaon only after a toilet is made. Akshay Kumar directs all his efforts and attention towards building a toilet. Even though he faces strong protests within his own community, with time he is able to convince his family about the importance of having a toilet.
Badhaai Do is another movie starring Bhumi Pednekar that highlights another social stigma and the challenges of those belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community. The movie, directed by Harshvardhan Kulkarni, stars the actress along with Rajkummar Rao, playing the male lead. The story is centred around a lavender marriage, or a marriage of convenience, undertaken by the two leads belonging to the community. The idea behind the marriage was to conceal the identities of both the individuals belonging to the community. The movie shows Rajkummar Rao playing the role of a police officer and Bhumi Pednekar as a physical education teacher. The two actors meet when Rao’s character, Shardul, pretends to be a woman on a dating app and meets Pednekar’s character, Sumi, who planned to meet a woman on a dating app. Eventually, the two decide to get married to each other to conceal their identities. The movie follows them on the path of their marriage.
Sonchiriya is an action-film directed by Abhishek Chaubey. The movie stars Sushant Singh Rajput, Bhumi Pednekar, Manoj Bajpayee, Ashutosh Rana and Ranvir Shorey. The movie tells the tale of a rebel dacoit group that named themselves the Baaghis, set in the ravines of Chambal. Set in the 1970s, it follows the lives of the dacoits in their struggles and makes for a promising watch. The movie has also been hailed as a promising thriller that will keep you hooked to your seats. The movie is graced with a power-packed performance by Bhumi Pednekar. She essays the role of a woman who is on the run. She delivered a fiery performance that left the audience in awe. The actress won numerous accolades and widespread acclaim for the movie. This includes the nomination for a Filmfare Award for Best Actress (Critic). Other than Bhumi’s personal contribution, the movie bagged multiple Filmfare Awards and nominations.