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Carving a niche!

Carving a niche!
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The year 2017 is already well-known for epic disasters. Yet, a star for tomorrow took her place on the list of be tter performers in Bollywood this...

The year 2017 is already well-known for epic disasters. Yet, a star for tomorrow took her place on the list of be tter performers in Bollywood this year. The name is Bhumi Pednekar.Bhumi surprised a lot many of us as the overweight Haridwar girl in ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’.

Sandhya Verma could remind you of so many middle-class overweight girls but what stood out about Bhumi’s performance was that it did not evoke sympathy it evoked respect for a woman trying to make her own mark in a relationship despite a very obvious drawback. Sandhya wins her own battles and crushes all the demons in her relationship.

In the process, her act won hearts and it was the much unexpected BO surprise. Simply measured by “Return on Investment” scale, ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ was one of the biggest winners of 2015. The other notable point, which makes any debutant performer as somebody to watch out for is how he or she forms a chemistry with the co-star on screen. And her pairing with Ayushmann Khurrana dazzled the audience.

However, not many thought of Bhumi as the next big thing. For one, not many gave her chance because of her simple physical appearance, not many were aware that she put on weight for the first movie.

Then came her weight reduction and the release of ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ (TEPK). Ridiculed by purists and surely not rated as an A-lister movie by many. TEPK has been the biggest success of 2017. Again, Bhumi’s effort as the college topper, small-town girl Jaya won big time fan appreciation.

She matched her acting punches superbly against Akshay Kumar, who is known for his screen presence and not many can get away with equal audience appreciation when AK is on the screen but Bhumi’s Jaya was a performance, which did exactly that. Jaya was ferocious and vulnerable in layers and it worked big time.

TEPK had to work more on the woman’s performance and the director needs to be complimented for choosing Bhumi for the role.

Then came the biggest surprise winner of 2017 called ‘Shubh Mangal Savdhaan’ (SMS), Bollywood has very few stories of a small-time movie trying to take on a bigger release on the same day and making its mark. ‘Baadshaho’ and SMS clashed on the same day and SMS held the ground purely on word of mouth and a super effort yet again from Ayushman and Bhumi.

Bhumi plays a typical Delhi girl expecting a prince charming and she actually gets one. The problem only begins after that. A movie, which was a brilliant mix of a taboo topic, some sensitivity, truckloads of epic humour – rode its way to success on the acting prowess of the lead pair. Bhumi Pednekar again played a headstrong girl, who cannot let go of a man, who is only fighting a genuine problem.

Despite a not so strong climax, the movie worked because of Bhumi’s part hilarious, part sensitive and part lost woman act. Most of our high billed actresses would have made a mess of this act. It will be unfair to draw parallels but if you were to compare these three acts of Bhumi with any other more celebrated actress you will find that so far Bhumi brings an earthy casualness, confidence, and warmth to her act, which many of our other actresses do not really bring to the table.

The other factor, which has probably made Bhumi’s act so convincing is her natural ability to get under the skin of these roles. You know the lady has done her homework when she is acting in these diverse roles. Here is another point for which I dive back into the 1970s. Rekha the biggest star then was from South India, she had an accent but worked on it by the time ‘Umrao Jaan’ came; her Urdu diction could put any Lucknow-born to shame. Rekha took about two decades to reach there.

Bhumi a born Maharashtrian took two years and three roles to deliver North Indian girls acts, all of them with such conviction, that probably even a Mathura-born actress would think twice about reattempting characters on such lines. Clearly, 2017 belongs to this uncelebrated tigress!

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