Nothing More Empowering Than The Choice Of Saying No: Bhumi Pednekar

Bhumi Pednekar opened up about a time in her career when, at the beginning, she faced a big difference in pay compared to a male colleague. What made it frustrating was that she had no other option but to accept the opportunity.

Priya Prakash
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Women are often labelled as 'difficult' when they assert their rights due to deep-seated gender stereotypes, resistance to change, social conditioning, double standards, and fears of losing privilege.


Being in a male-dominated industry, when women advocate for equality and challenge established norms, they are again seen as difficult to work with. Bhumi Pednekar, who has done films like Dum Laga Ke Haisha Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, and Badhaai Do, in a conversation with SheThePeople talked about her first experience being called a difficult woman and how she reacts to listing these labels.

The actor whose next release, Thank You For Coming (TYFC), is set to release in theatres this Friday, said, "I have been called difficult time and again." She talked about the lessons she's learned from her work and thinks all women should use them in their lives. She said, “There is nothing more empowering than saying no; there will be a reputation; people are like, ‘Hey, don't work with her; she's very nasty; she doesn't want to do the film’; if you don't pay me what I am worthy of, I will not do your film."

Unfair Pay And Limited Choices

Pednekar continued to talk about a time in her career when, in the beginning, she faced a big difference in pay compared to a male colleague. What made it frustrating was that she had no other option but to accept the opportunity, even though the pay gap didn't make sense.

I was in a position early on in my career, and I've said this even in the past, I was literally paid 5% of what my male colleague was paid, he had done as many films as me, and he was as successful as me, we'd gotten as many awards, there was no maths that you know that people usually put over, theatre made it the audience; he was on an equal footing yet I was paid 5%; but I did the film because I didn't have a choice, and I was made to feel like this film is a blessing to me because I've gotten an opportunity.

TYFC's Message


Her upcoming film stars Dolly Singh, Kusha Kapila, Shehnaaz Gill, and Shibani Bedi and is produced by Ekta Kapoor and Rhea Kapoor. She continued by discussing her experience working on a project like Thank You for Coming, which featured an ensemble cast of female actors.

She emphasised the sense of equality, fairness, and women supporting each other, highlighting the unstoppable nature of women: "This is like, just us fixing each other's crowns; there's a reason why women are unstoppable”.

Our film represents not apologising for being a woman because we're tired of constantly saying sorry for our choices. I hope our film conveys this message strongly.

Suggested Reading: Want Young Girls To Feel Liberated After Watching My Films: Rhea Kapoor 

Bhumi Pednekar Thank You For Coming Bhumi Pednekar On Facing Pay Disparity