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Pandemic put a break on female-led movies, says Bhumi Pednekar

Pandemic put a break on female-led movies, says Bhumi Pednekar
Mumbai, Actor Bhumi Pednekar says the coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdown led to cost cutting and thus affected the budget of women-centric films. The actor currently features in buddy comedy "Thank You For Coming", which has a predominantly female cast. Also starring Shehnaaz Gill, Dolly Singh, Kusha Kapila, and Shibani Bedi, the film will hit the screens Friday.

According to Pednekar, "Veere Di Wedding" was the last female-led movie that did well at the box office with earnings of around Rs 130 crore. Its producers Rhea Kapoor and Ektaa R Kapoor have reunited for "Thank You For Coming".

"'Veere Di Wedding' is the last female story that worked and the same producers are making this film. After 'Veere Di Wedding' we had more such stories. Then lockdown (due to COVID-19) happened and then obviously there was cost cutting on female-centric films. Then again, we saw Rhea Kapoor, who made this kind of film again," the Mumbai-born actor told PTI in an interview here.

Citing the example of her 2019 film "Saand Ki Aankh", Pednekar said the box office collections are not in anyone's control.

"It is all about whether the film is good or bad. I remember when I had done 'Saand Ki Aankh', which is a female-led film, compared to another film, which released on the same day, and it did overall business of Rs 350 crore. While my film did Rs 45 crore but our film was running in theatres for 100 days," she added.

The beauty of cinema is that good work will always "be remembered and watched for generations", the actor said.

"Films earn money but we hope people will come and watch our films. We don't take the pressure because certain things are not in our hands."

"Thank You For Coming" is a coming-of-age comedy which follows the story of Kanika Kapoor (Pednekar), a single woman in her 30s, and her quest for true love and pleasure. It is written by Radhika Anand and Prashasti Singh and directed by Karan Boolani.

The 34-year-old actor said the film's story uses female desire to explore the theme of patriarchy in society.

"Orgasm is a metaphor for a larger scheme of things that the film talks about. The film is against patriarchy, it is not about man versus woman, because patriarchy is not gender specific.

"Women and men both are patriarchal. That's the thought of the film. The film is about sisterhood, womanhood... Every film has a thought or a premise, so this is the premise of the film," she said.

Pednekar, known for films such as "Dum Laga Ke Haisha", "Toilet: Ek Prem Katha", and "Shubh Mangal Saavdhan", said the cast stuck to the light-hearted tone of the story of "Thank You For Coming".

"If we had not kept this tone of the film... We would not have been honest to what we have made. If we are making a film about female pleasure and if we are only shying to talk about it, then what's the point?"

She hopes "Thank You For Coming" helps diminish the stigma around sexual liberation of women.

"Till the time, 'Shubh Mangal Saavdhan' had not been released people would shy to talk about the topic of erectile dysfunction. It was an issue in families but one would not be able to talk about it, I believe that film eased the conservation.

"I feel with this film ('Thank You For Coming'), female orgasm, female desire, and all this is one part of the film, these are small themes in the film, but there are more important things that the film comments about. It is a normal thing," she added.