Bhumi Pednekar on climate change
Bhumi Pednekar feels spring is the best time to be in Delhi. The actress, who has always loved Delhi winters, says that Dilli ki sardi no longer excites her. Courtesy: the smog. “Spring is definitely the best time to be in Delhi right now. But we have to understand that we can’t always go to the second-best alternative. Is it fair that children in the next few years will have respiratory problems? Schools are going into lockdown because the air is so toxic. What kind of a world are we leaving behind? Today, our summers and winters are so extreme. The biggest misunderstanding is that people think climate change will happen far away in the future. No! It’s happening now. We have had multiple heat waves, we experienced the coldest winter days this year, there have been floods and droughts, and this is not normal! We must be really delusional if we believe that we aren’t going to face the adverse effects of climate change,” says Bhumi.
‘I find Delhi to be a mix of culture and development’
Talking about shooting in the Delhi smog, the climate warrior, who was recently named The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) first national advocate for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Delhi, adds, “There were days when we had to push the shoot as the smog was so intense and we couldn’t see anything. I remember I would come back from the shoot and have bad allergic rhinitis, thanks to the pollution. I don’t want to live wearing a mask all the time, but that’s what we are going towards, and it’s heartbreaking.”
Despite that, Delhi remains one of her favourite cities. She says, “I love Delhi. I have grown up in the city and have my friends and family here. And what I love the most about Delhi is the mix of culture with development. It really gives me a high when I go around Lutyens’ Delhi and cross the areas like the Parliament and the embassies. I think what’s beautiful about Delhi is that you will randomly see a historical monument, and then there’s so much development around it. I love how both worlds co-exist. I also love Delhi food.” Her favourite? “Papdi chaat from Bengali Market! Whenever I am in the city, I have to have papdi chaat.”
‘Want to use my craft to make society a better place’
On the work front, Bhumi says she is looking forward to playing glamorous roles, but not ones that are about objectification of women. “I love glamour, and I love fashion. Most of my films don’t portray that, but in my personal life, that’s something I love. When I look at Sridevi in a chiffon sari in Chandni… uff! I want to do roles like that, but over time, we just reduced the importance of female characters tremendously. I would like to believe it’s changing now,” she shares.
The actress enjoys doing challenging roles. “Being an actor is a lot more than just looking amazing on screen and portraying different characters. It also comes with a little bit of responsibility. I got lucky because my first film was Dum Laga Ke Haisha, I tasted blood with that film and realised that doing unconventional parts is my power, and that’s how I can create a space for myself. I really enjoy challenging and pushing myself. I enjoy that my films bring about a certain amount of positive change in the world. I want to use my craft to make society a better place. I feel very proud that I have created a niche for myself, and I really hope that other women join me in that space, I will be happy to share it. There’s enough work for everyone.”