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Gotta love Bhumi Pednekar

Her debut, Dum Laga Ke Haisha, was an out-and-out women’s empowerment vehicle

By Vatsala Chhibber  May 28th, 2015

When Dum Laga Ke Haisha’s portly star began promotions for the film, she was taken aback by the general air of disappointment she was faced with. By then, 25-year-old Pednekar had returned to her normal weight, several sizes down from the endearing Haridwar native she plays in the film. She had also, it seemed, upset everybody’s plans to christen her the new role model for bigger women. “It was unfair for people to criticise my weight loss,” she says. “I did not set out to break any stereotype — I simply put on 20 kg for a role. If I’m asked to lose 30 kg, I’ll do that too.”

A firm favourite with the ELLE team, DLKH was an out-and-out women’s empowerment vehicle, whose message was delivered with the same playfulness and unburdened writing as last year’s Queen. And Pednekar’s restrained and affecting debut as the plus-size new bride straining for her husband’s affection, but pulling no punches when she doesn’t get it, was the undisputed highlight. The physical transformation was a breeze, Pednekar says, even though it involved an eight-month binge, a new XXL wardrobe and blank stares from friends. The real challenge was toning down her natural big-city sass and “finding ways to soften the character.”  

As for whether the former casting agent (and aspiring director) had it easier because of her long-time association with YRF, she chuckles: “Sharat [Katariya, the director] would audition me in the morning, and because it was my job, I would audition other girls for the same role in the evenings!” 

Chiffon shirt, Vero Moda. Polyester skirt, Forever New. Leather pumps, Christian Louboutin. Metal and stone ring, Aquamarine. Photograph: Manasi Sawant; Styling: Neha Salvi; Make-Up: Devika Heroor; Hair: Natasha Britto; Assisted by: Veronna Parikh

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