Young Bollywood star Bhumi Pednekar was part of Yash Raj Films’ casting division auditioning girls for the part of Sandhya, a confidently, body-positive, overweight girl from North India in Dum Laga Ke Haisha (DLKH). Bhumi reveals that the team had auditioned close to 250 girls before they zeroed in on her to play the part because she worked hard towards nailing her auditions!
Bhumi says acting was never on her mind when she was casting for movies. She says, “Honestly, I never had that thought about it. I was dedicated to my job and I am a very honest person and take a lot of pride in saying that. I was so dedicated to what I was doing that there wasn’t once that I thought, ‘Oh, I can do that better’. But what I was doing simultaneously, while conducting those auditions, was that I was playing those parts, sometimes I was a 6-year-old child or an aged woman trying to extract a performance out of them.”
She adds, “So, everything was prep for me but the most weird time was when I was auditioning girls for Dum Laga Ke Haisha. Because I was being auditioned simultaneously, I thought that am I being unfair to these girls in any way because we have an equal opportunity. I remember going up to Shanoo and saying – I feel like maybe unknowingly I am not being fair to them. We auditioned 200-250 girls for the part and I didn’t get the part so easy.”
Bhumi says her director Sharat Kataria was very thorough before choosing her for the part. She says, “I really had to prove my mettle and Sharad my director was a little tough on me because he didn’t want to take me just because I was a YRF employee. He wanted someone who belonged to that world of the script. I was nowhere close.” Bhumi adds, “I am a Bombay born and bred girl and for me transforming into a time in early 90s when globalization hadn’t really hit, my Hindi was pretty urban and I really had to prove myself. After 4 months of rigorous auditioning, he told me that I got the part. I can say it with a lot of pride that I really, really worked hard and it took me 6 years of working behind the camera to get my first film!”