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Pooja Bhatt on playing a strict principal in Big Girls Don't Cry - Why do women have to kind of be stripped of their femininity and become asexual? | Exclusive

In an exclusive interview with OTT during Big Girls Don't Cry promotions, Pooja Bhatt spoke at length about breaking stereotypes and amplifying youth voices.

Pooja Bhatt on playing a strict principal in Big Girls Don't Cry - Why do women have to kind of be stripped of their femininity and become asexual? | Exclusive
Pooja Bhatt/Instagram

Last Updated: 05.16 PM, Mar 14, 2024


Pooja Bhatt is Anita Verma, the head of Vandana Valley Girls School, in the latest Prime Video series, Big Girls Don't Cry. Many are appreciating her performance in her second OTT outing in fiction after Bombay Begums. A few months ago, the actor impressed many with her stint on Bigg Boss OTT Season 2, hosted by Salman Khan.

We caught up with Pooja ahead of the release of BGDC in an exclusive interaction, duribg which she talked about being a part of the series and was all praise for the creators, Nitya Mehra, Karan Kapadia, Kopal Naithani, and Sudhanshu Saria.


Pooja Bhatt's preparation for her role and comparison with Bigg Boss

When asked if she was the principal with the young girls or a member of the gang, the actor-filmmaker quipped, "I was the principal in the Bigg Boss house, so I could let the masses out there prepare themselves for Anita Verma. It was all thought of in prep for this show of ours, where I'm playing the principal."

Speaking about how excited she was to be a part of Big Girls Don't Cry, Pooja stated, "So for me, it was the greatest kick that she (Nitya) cast me as a principal because school mein mujhe bohot corridors mein samay bitana pada. (So for me, it was the greatest kick that she'd cast me as a principal because I had to spend a lot of time in the corridors of school.) I was a rebellious young child, and I'm a rebellious not-so-young lady as well. That doesn't change with time. In fact, it becomes worse as you get older because you have nothing to lose."

Pooja's excitement and reflections on shooting in Ooty

In addition to reminiscing about her time shooting in Ooty, the actor took a trip down memory lane and said, "It was wonderful to be in Ooty. The Nilgiris in Ooty have a very special place in my heart. Maine apne saare films Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahi, Sadak wahaan pe shoot ki thi. (I shot all my films, Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahi, and Sadak there.) In fact, I remember shooting one day in Lovedale, aur packup ke baad mein ek fan ne mujhe ek forward or reminder diya tha ke it was 34 years of Sadak. (In fact, I remember shooting one day in Lovedale, and after pack-up, a fan forwarded and reminded me that it was 34 years of Sadak.) And that evening, we had the most magical sunset. So I will say here that I am at 51 working with these new beautiful girls and with Nitya, Sudanshu, and Karan, and as you know, life has been very kind. So I have much to be grateful for."

Her character, Anita Verma, is a no-nonsense principal who shuts down the rebellious nature of the students, and that's something that Pooja isn't in real life. When asked if that was something that excited her to be a part of the series, she went on to say, "Well, there are certain things I do not stand for. Yeah, but there are certain things that are very me. For example, I think Anita Verma is somebody who believes in that world. It's painful to see how she goes about trying to maintain the sanctity of the institution. And I am somebody who is a team player; if I take up a cause, I will die for it. But I will maintain that if I'm told that these are the rules that you have to live by, if you don't learn the rules, you can't break them."

Acknowledgement of youth voices and importance of listening

While praising the young minds and how the voice of the youth is the need of the hour, she shared, "Why do women have to kind of be stripped of their femininity and become asexual as they grow older or younger? I think that's what's amazing about this show—that it recognises I just read that the Supreme Court has said yes to a 14-year-old deciding where she wants to live. So it didn't shut down that voice because it was 14. So all of them in the show are growing up into adults, and they're going through all these conflicting emotions about their sexuality, about their families, and about who they are. And I think that that is something we need to listen to our youth more about. We need to listen to each other; let them speak."

"Age does not define wisdom. Log buddhe hote hai, bade nahi hote. Just because aap umar mein chote hai, iska matlab yeh nahi ke, you are very young. Bohot saare aise logon ko main mili hoon, jinke khyaal bohot puraane hai. (People grow old; they don't grow up. Just because you are young doesn't mean you are very young. I have met many people whose thoughts are very old.) So it's not a guarantee that a young body will have a young mind. I think here, you're absolutely untarnished; they're not your regular filmy kids who have done X amount of shows or X amount of TVs and have some preconceived ideas about; they all have varied lives; they come from unique homes; and they bring that personality to the fray. Which is why you have to applaud Nitya, Sudanshu, Karan, and the entire team for casting with so much love. Because that is half the battle won. You cast right and step back, and then, of course, you get what you want," added Pooja.

Praise for chemistry among lead cast members

Further praising the chemistry shared among the lead cast, namely Avantika Vandanapu, Aneet Padda, Akshita Sood, Dalai, Vidushi, Tenzin Lhakyila, and Afrah Sayed, the actor said, "Sirf hero and heroine ki chemistry nahi hoti hai; chemistry is between each person. I think the fact that everyone has come on board with completely unique traits, quirks, and eccentricities, and we've brought them together, and nobody's been told that you should look like her or you should be like her—we are all unabashedly ourselves. That is something that doesn't happen very often."

Pooja also shared her two cents in conclusion, stating, "Aaj ke daur mein hum humare young ladiyaan ko especially, young kyu, sabko, with any stage of life, the world is only telling them hum aapke aise improve kar sakte hai. (In today's era, we, especially our young girls—why, everyone, at any stage of life, the world is only telling them we can improve you like this.) Fine, this is you, but I can make you better. Why make me better? This is me. I am unique. There is no one else on the planet like me or you. So I think this is what the show celebrates: each person's uniqueness, and no attempt to be able to kind of polish and take off the rough edges. It's just the way they are—that itself is so refreshing."

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