Bhumi Pednekar believes her journey in movies has been "different" right from the outset, as usual and ordinary characters do not excite her. The 30-year-old actor made debut with Dum Laga Ke Haisha, which featured her as an overweight newly-married woman, and went on to play a progressive parts in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Shubh Mangal Savdhan.
Her last big screen outing was as a feisty woman in "Sonchiriya" and her upcoming film "Saand Ki Aankh" will feature her as one of world's oldest sharpshooters Chandro Tomar.
"It takes a lot to be secure. It is not easy when you see yourself as a 70 year old. It is an actor's dream to do a film like 'Saand Ki Aankh'. It has comedy but it is not easy to do. In 'Bala' I am playing a deep coloured girl, my character is commenting on the societal bias that is still very prevalent in India on colour," Bhumi told PTI in an interview here.
"I feel as an actor, the kind of satisfaction I get by not being Bhumi on-screen is something else. I can proudly say this that both are very different, they are not the same people. I love the fact that I can challenge myself and through my work. I can change the way people think. I am not doing ordinary things," she added.
The actor said a lot of people warned her against taking up unconventional characters.
"There are people who questioned my choices as an actor. A lot of people told me why I am doing 'Saand Ki Aankh', why I am playing a 70 year old and why I am doing earthy or rural films. I don't see films as earthy or rural or how my look is in the film. I look at the story. People are seeing the story, my character and not Bhumi, on the big screen."
All of Bhumi's films have done commercially well except Sonchiriya and she said one can't predict the fate of a film. "You can't predict what the audience likes. Every film that I do is because I feel for it. My instinct tells me I need to be part of this woman's journey, I need to tell this story.
"'Sonchiriya' did not do well commercially but the amount of love the film got was tremendous so it did not feel like a failure to me. It was very heartbreaking that it was not making the numbers. It is not a film that will attract eyeballs easily."
She believes one should accept failure and move on in their career. "You have to be in check with your reality. I need to know that I have gone through this experience, you can't pretend it (failure) has not happened. Because I feel somewhere it is going to corrupt me as a person, it is going to corrupt my craft. The only thing I feel an actor needs to be is to be pure. Any creative person needs to have purity in their work."
Bhumi added the experience with "Sonchiriya" taught her to stay disconnected from both success and failure. "I have learnt this after 'Sonchiriya' that if you have put your heart and soul into it, you need to disconnect with the success and failure of the film because that is the only way you can survive. If I take the pressure that all my films have done well and if any of my films don't, then I won't be able to survive."
The 30-year-old actor credits the writers of her films for creating powerful roles for the female protagonist. "I have become an actor at a time when writers got the power back. I am a product of my directors and writers. I am dependent on them. I am as good as the script I have.
"However, it is a collaborative effort. These are women who are around us. Every woman I have played is a girl-next-door. There is a lot of realism in her that is backed by great writing. I think that is what has connected with the audience."
Bhumi also has films like Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, Bala and Pati, Patni Aur Woh releasing this year.
Year 2020 will see her cast in Karan Johar's magnum opus Takht and Bhoot Part One: The Haunted Ship with Vicky Kaushal. "I don't have any planned ideas about my career... about the number of films releasing every year. I want to keep doing good work. I am a workaholic," she said.