Actor Bhumi Pednekar says her upcoming comedy drama ”Badhaai Do” talks about ”love and acceptance” through a sensitive lens, never using its humour against the LGBTQI community to mine cheap laughs.
The film features Pednekar as a lesbian physical education teacher Sumi, who gets into a marriage of convenience with actor Rajkummar Rao’s Shardul Thakur, who the makers teased will be a gay policeman.
The film is billed as a spiritual sequel to the National Award-winning 2018 hit ”Badhaai Ho!”.
In an interview with PTI, Pednekar said she agreed to do the film half way through its narration as she saw the potential of the project to speak to a large audience.
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”What really jumped out for me was that, it is a big franchise which stands for speaking about things that usually make people uncomfortable, but something that we need to accept and normalise. ”There is a lot of humour in the film, even in the narration I could not stop laughing. But the humour is not degrading, not there to titillate. It is not at the expense of the community”.
The actor, whose credits include socially relevant films like ”Shubh Mangal Saavdhan”, ”Bala” and ”Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare”, said ”Badhaai Do” came to her without any dos and don’ts.
Pednekar said the team of the film– director Harshvardhan Kulkarni, writers Suman Adhikary and Akshat Ghildia– were aware of telling an important story with maturity.
”There was a lot of sensitivity about the LGBTQI community, which is something I really respected. That came from the writing and the direction. There was not a lot for me to be alert about, which tells you about the maturity and the thinking that has gone behind the writing. ”When I heard the narration, it was done so well, there was no reason for me to say, ‘We should not create a joke about the community’. You have to show the society the way it is, because that’s the only way we would be able to achieve the change we hope we do, but there is no digging. It is a very sensitive film” she said.
With Sumi, the 32-year-old actor said he found an opportunity to play a vulnerable character, a departure from some of her ”strong willed” roles in films like ”Saand Ki Aankh” and ”Durgamati”.
Her character is of someone looking for love; she is ”flawed, brave” and eventually finds the courage to be herself, she added.
”Sumi is genuinely inspirational. What truly excited me as an actor was that I saw her vulnerabilities. I have played a lot of strong willed women, women who are out there to get it, but that’s not the case for everyone. Everybody has their coming of age, through experiences you find courage. I saw her do that.” Pednekar said the film is ultimately a celebration of love, accepting oneself and overcoming fears. ”It is not easy. One can easily say ‘come out, let people know who you are’, but it is a journey. It is a film about your family accepting you for who you are, about understanding that love at the end of the day is about two individuals, irrespective of any kind of social conditioning we have gone through over the years,” she added.