Bollywood actor, Bhumi Pednekar believes in women empowerment.  Her choice of films is a clear testimony to that.  The films she has been a part of are all women-centric, from Dum Laga Ke Haisha to Shubh Mangal Savdhan.

On Saturday (Nov 25) she was speaking at a masterclass session at the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa. She pointed out how for a long time the Hindi film industry especially in the 1940s, never showed woman characters acknowledging their true potential.

“Most of the roles of the lead heroine were only of a good mother, loving wife and decent bahu. They sometimes didn’t have a name either and were referred to as “Ashok ki maa, Raju ki biwi” etc. Also, anyone with desire or passion was portrayed as the loose woman and given the role of a vamp,” she explained, the TOI reported.

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Bhumi highlighted how the scenario started to shift around 1933, when Devika Rani stunned the world with the first kissing scene of Hindi cinema in the film Karma. Again, Helen broke the typical wardrobe mind and became the woman who rocked in the 60s-70s without being portrayed as a vamp. But still these women were without a career.

“It wasn’t until the 90s that women like Raveena Tandon started acting as working women besides being the pretty face to their lead actor,” she pointed out.

She noted that today the internet is working as a boon for the industry due to which powerful female characters are being portrayed onscreen.”The Hindi film industry is obsessed with casting fair, thin and beautiful women. But in each of the films that I have acted in, I have made sure that I break these stereotypes by playing a fat or unglamorous roles,” she added.

However, Pednekar confessed, in her role as a casting director with YashRaj Films she too was sceptical while choosing leading ladies. It is only when she started acting her approach towards the issue changed.

“I now deliberately choose scripts wherein we can question the stereotypes and prejudices in our society. While DLKH portrayed me as an overweight and average looking woman; Toilet-Ek Prem Katha portrayed me leaving my husband because of open defecation; and Shubh Mangal Saavadhan is centred on the sexual performance of the film’s hero, a subject that is considered to be taboo,” she claimed.

“When we started filming Toilet-Ek Prem Katha, 54% of India was into open defecation; which dropped to 30% after the film was out,” she said.

We must say there are a few actresses in the industry who share similar views and most of all act upon them. Self-realisation and turning the turd will bring empowerment in the coming days, we strongly believe.
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