In an industry where every Bollywood aspirant tries to play safe especially when it comes to his/her debut, Bhumi Pednekar made a conscious decision to be different. She decided to play an overweight woman in Dum Lagake Haisha - a character not many would have opted for as it doesn't tread the tried and tested path. Interestingly, with her second film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, the actress with her unconventional good looks and acting prowess brings alive some of the crucial moments of the film which undoubtedly mark the story's turning point. In a candid chat with News18.com, the actress speaks about her film and a lot more. Excerpts from an interview...
Would it be correct to call Toilet Ek Prem Katha an inspirational film that carries a profound message?
Absolutely. Our film is a beautiful love story between Keshav and Jaya. For me it is one of the greatest love stories that I have come across or read. The beauty of this film is that we’ve always heard parents that don’t want their daughter to get married or there is a jealous lover. There is some twist. In our film, the twist and the villain is the toilet. Just imagine how much fun this ride is going to be if you go watch it.
Your film is on a campaign which is very close to the Prime Minister's heart. Did you feel any pressure doing this?
We haven’t done the film because of that. This is a little contribution to our honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative that he has started. As responsible citizens of this country, we have just played a little part in his bigger plan. But there wasn’t any pressure because honestly, he is the reason why this dialogue of cleanliness had started. I remember until a few years ago, the hypocrites that we are, we’d go abroad and not even sneeze in public. But in India you don’t care, you just take everything for granted. We think it is okay for us to dirty our streets, it is okay for us to defecate out in open, it is okay for us to stand by the wall and do our business. No it isn’t. We just believe in convenience, and the ‘chalta hai’ attitude. Since Mr Modi has taken office, there has definitely been a change in the way people look at our country and I’m very thankful to him.
Do you think this will work with Toilet... In the past audiences have not been very enthusiastic about preachy films...
Not at all. For beginners, Toilet Ek Prem Katha does deal with important social issue, but it isn’t the film that’s preachy. We aren’t taking a nail and a hammer and hitting your head. We are following Keshav and Jaya and their love story. And through them you realise that this actually an omen in our society. This isn’t healthy for our society. This is a two-and-a half hour laughter riot. But at no point will you be bored, or feel ‘documentary dekh lete hain’. Or feel stop preaching me, because that isn’t our film.
Humour remains the critical aspect of the film?
It has lots of romance and humour. But it isn’t slapstick humour. It is humour that you are going to enjoy. Toilet is a very credible film, high on craft and made with lot of sensitivity and hardwork. Not a film that will make you feel like – ‘what a waste of effort’!