Bhumi Pednekar at e-Mind Rocks 2021: Covid relief work helped me heal sooner
At India Today e-Mind Rocks 2021, Bhumi Pednekar talked about her Covid-19 relief work, being an outsider in the film industry, shooting during the pandemic and a lot more.
By Vibha Maru: Bhumi Pednekar had a tough time when she and her mother tested positive for coronavirus. After experiencing a difficult time personally due to Covid-19, the actress decided to help those suffering from the virus and started her Covid relief initiative during the second wave of coronavirus.
In a session titled Girl, Uninterrupted: On playing the life-changing role of a Covid warrior at India Today e-Mind Rocks 2021, Bhumi talked about her Covid relief work, shooting during the pandemic and a lot more. Read on:
Talk to us about your Covid relief work?
The experience of Covid was personal. With me and my mother being sick, I understood how harsh a pandemic can be and the consequences it can have on a family. I was fortunate to receive all the help, but I still found it tough. I started the relief work because of my difficult personal experience.
I feel that all the work that I did helped me heal sooner. I delved into the relief work neck deep and there was no time. There were 3 to 4 major cities in India that were affected majorly. I started the relief right after testing negative for the coronavirus. Things were really bad and the kind of human damage we suffered made me focus on the relief work.
What did you learn from your experience?
Twitter was my battleground. It was where most of my conversations would happen. Twitter identified me as a Covid warrior because before this I was not really active on it. So, it was this experience that made me realise how productive this platform can be if used correctly.
What was the experience of shooting during the pandemic like?
There is a lot of excitement and nervousness on the sets. I was always hoping that I don't contract the virus again. But things have been really strict on the sets when it comes to following the Covid-19 protocols. Everybody is wearing a mask and people will be washing their hands. Nobody is seen tossing food around like it used to happen earlier. People maintain proper social distancing. The bonding time on the set has decreased, but that is okay because it is important that the system keeps running.
Also, I just want to add that we have abused our planet a lot. We have been receiving warnings from scientists. There will be many more diseases. I think we are just being prepped for the future. I know this sounds harsh. But I believe in science.
Your mother supports you in your every decision. What's her take on marriage?
Both my parents are progressionists. Marriage has never been a topic of discussion in our family. My parents constantly say that they would want my sister and me to be responsible citizens of the country. They don't want us to be a burden on society. They want us to settle down financially, emotionally, they want us to travel the world, gain maximum knowledge. Not that being married comes in the way of that, but unfortunately, in our society women are pressurised tremendously and that's why I keep telling people that it is okay if you are not married. It has to be your choice, but sadly, girls aren't given that option.
What is your idea of marriage?
I am a die-hard romantic. I believe in the institution. I see myself with four children and I have seen perfect marriages around me with my parents and aunts and uncles being examples. So, I feel there are certain things I won't compromise on at all. Marriage is more about companionship and the day I get that, I think I will be happy.
What is the daily Pednekar household like?
Things are really crazy in the Pednekar household. My sister and I go from zero to 100 in seconds. But our days are full of fun and love for each other. I think my sister is my best friend and our bond has become stronger as we grow older. My sister and my mom are very involved in many of my professional decisions also. They are the people whose opinions matter the most to me.
How has your health been post Covid-19?
After I recovered, I was struggling with my stamina. I lost a lot of hair and I was so sad. I am working hard to regain it. My skin has lost its lustre and it is taking time to recover. It's not just Covid-19, the medication also has an impact on your body.
Lots of films are releasing on OTT. Do you plan to do major projects on OTT?
I think at the moment our films are going to release on OTT platforms. I think OTT is the future. It's a future that is going to co-exist with theatres. So, the idea is to work everywhere. I think I will do OTT projects that break boundaries.
As an outsider, how has your experience been in the film industry?
I think I have been very lucky and I had worked really hard. I had worked for 5-6 years behind the camera before I made my debut. I was very lucky to get that opportunity. Those who are not from this environment have to learn a lot. Those who come from this ecosystem definitely have an edge because they have already been preparing and they always had the right guidance from a young age. They have more opportunities. But when I look back at my journey, I pat myself on the back because I did it all by myself. I was the black sheep, nobody ever expected me to reach where I am today.
What are your upcoming projects?
I have Badhaai Do and Raksha Bandhan. I am doing a couple of more films but I am not allowed to speak about them right now.