My Cinderella Story: Actress Bhumi Pednekar

Mumbai,Sneha Mahadevan: Bhumi Pednekar on her journey from casting actors for films to being cast in one

Her transformation from overweight screen bride to a sharp 25-year-old off it, has been phenomenal. Bhumi Pednekar knows this, and yet in the face of fame and critical acclaim has remained down-to-earth. She started her six-year journey at Yash Raj Films by doing odd jobs. She was 18 then and now, at 25, has realised her dream of being an actress. The overweight girl in Dum Lagaa Ke Haisha actually auditioned several acting hopefuls and the overwhelming reality of where’s she’s reached now, isn’t lost on her. Here’s what she has to say about the beginning of her happily-ever-after story…

Did you always want to be an actor?
Of course. I always wanted to be an actor but I wasn’t very vocal about it. When you start working, you get so involved in what you’re doing. For six years I was with YRF doing a whole bunch of things for them. I was just so occupied with all that, that I didn’t really get a chance to pursue acting at all. But yeah, I definitely wanted to be an actor. That is also the reason why I joined films.

Parineeti Chopra also worked with YRF before she made her debut as an actress. Was that reassuring in some way?
Not at all. I joined YRF when I was 18. I am 25 today. There was no other influence in my life. There wasn’t a path. I didn’t join YRF thinking that if I joined the casting department, I could become an actor. I purely joined YRF because I wanted to be a part of them. Somebody told me there was a vacancy and I didn’t even know it was in the casting department. I went there, gave the interview and I started doing what they asked me to do. It’s just that things worked out and its just about being at the right place at the right time. There was a script that needed a girl to be overweight. I was overweight and I went through a series of auditions like any other actor who is entering Bollywood would. I have worked towards it, it wasn’t just given to me.

Did you have to put on weight for the role?
I did. I was always an overweight girl. But for the role, I gained close to 12 kilos. Similarly, losing weight also just happened. It is not like I had an aim that I had to look a certain way after the film releases. If for a year you have to eat butter chicken and dal makhni everyday, then you quit eating and you lose the weight. That is what happened with me.

Actresses around you are striving to lose weight. Weren’t you apprehensive about your unconventional debut?
I would have been apprehensive but the script was so good. I mean, there was no way that could happen. I was really confident about the film. And then there is YRF, my co-star Ayushmann Khurrana had also said so I thought things are going well. Plus I am so new that I don’t think I am in a place to be apprehensive or really know what’s right or wrong. I just went with the flow.

You have a three-film deal with YRF. Are you going to consciously choose roles that are unconventional?
I do have a three-film deal with them, but I really don’t know what my next role is going to be. I am just enjoying my life right now. For me, it is my Cinderella story. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I am just enjoying the moment.