Bhumi Pednekar, our February digital star, has followed an unconventional journey to stardom
The ever radiant star is at her candid best with Shanoo Sharma
Rarely has an actor emerged triumphant in roles as challenging and diverse as that of an overweight housewife from a small town in Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015), a bold, unapologetic domestic help in the Netflix anthology, Lust Stories (2018) and a crusader against India’s fair skin obsession in Bala (2019). In less than half a decade, Bhumi Pednekar has risen to become Bollywood’s unlikely disruptor, often going by gut to make unconventional career choices. In an interview for ELLE, the actor sits down with her mentor, confidante and BFF, casting director Shanoo Sharma, to talk about her many firsts, career milestones and their rock-solid friendship that has stood the test of time.
Bhumi Pednekar: The first time I met Shanoo [Sharma] was when I was working for a different casting director, Abhimanyu Ray. I saw Shanoo walk into the office and she was like a diva. I was so mesmerised. I remember thinking, “Oh, my God, who’s this woman?”
Shanoo Sharma: I, on the other hand, had heard that she was this feisty person, someone to just stay away from. Of course, in two days, I realised she’s not capable of doing anything but she was just…scared.
BP: I wasn’t scared, I was 18.
SS: She was young, scared, and would easily get scandalised by everything. She was really in awe of my cabin, because I had done it up really well. So, I think after about two days she walked in and asked me if she could have a cup of coffee in my room.
BP: Because I had done a very tacky job at decorating mine with magazine covers of film stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor and Smita Patil. I think after the first two days and that cup of coffee, we killed it together.
SS: We became like best friends. She started dressing up like me. And, I was just watching this little kid wearing bindis, silver jewellery and dressing eclectic, and turning into a mini-me.
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Editor-in-chief:Supriya Dravid; Photograph: Bikramjit Bose; Styling: Samar Rajput; Hair: Yianni Tsapatori/Faze Management; Make-up: Akgun Manisali/Inega; Production: P Productions; Assisted by: Rupangi Grover (Styling), Shrishti Kumar (Intern)