A National Award for "Dum Laga Ke Haisha" has left Bhumi Pednekar rejoicing. The actress, who made an unconventional debut as an overweight woman and was widely lauded for her performance, hopes people's focus always remain on her acting skills rather than on how she looks.
Bhumi had gained around 30 kg for her role in the Ayushmann Khurrana starrer, but post the film, she was back to her slim and trim avatar. She also feels that the fact that "Dum Laga Ke Haisha" has been appreciated with the Best Hindi Film honour at the 63rd National Film Awards is a reminder of how commercial cinema is riding high on quality content.
"Last year has been so brilliant for me, and it has been a clean sweep as far as awards are concerned. The icing on the cake has been the National Award, so I can say that it has been a great year for me, " Bhumi told IANS here.
"It's very humbling to see that my performance was appreciated a lot and that's what I am proud of. There is nothing more important to me than my craft and I really hope that even in the future, apart from the way I look, the only thing that people will speak about is my work and performance, " she added.
Bhumi says her debut film was a "small little underdog film" from Yash Raj Films, one of India's biggest movie production banners, but the audience enjoyed it.
"However, I didn't ever realise that the film will become as big as it has. I think it's all our hard work, " she added of the Sharat Katariya directorial, which was set in the 1990s in Haridwar.
The film tells of how a unique romance blooms between a mismatched couple - - an overweight woman and uneducated man - - challenging the prejudices in a middle class family of choosing a bride.
Other films that have been chosen to receive National Film Awards include Bollywood entertainers and box office biggies like southern magnum opus "Baahubali: The Beginning", which was named Best Feature Film. The Best Actor honour has been reserved for Amitabh Bachchan's "Piku" act, while Kangana Ranaut has been named for the Best Actress Award for "Tanu Weds Manu Returns".
Bhumi is happy to see commercial cinema doing great at award functions.
"That is a great thing to see. In 2015, some big actors did the so - called parallel and smaller films. Also, there are many smaller films making a lot of money and becoming big. So, it has been a great year. I feel that very soon there won't be any division between different kind of films and it's all going to be one, " Bhumi told IANS.
She also feels that with actors ready to experiment with roles, lines have been blurred between "commercial and art films".
"It is really good to see that commercial films are having good content now and that's why it is being recognised, and we have (Bollywood has) dominated the National Film Awards, " she said when asked to share her views on Bollywood films sidelining regional cinema at the 63rd National Film Awards this year.
As for her future projects, Bhumi is looking forward to "Manmarziyan" with Ayushmann.
"We have finished the first schedule of the film, and will start the second schedule in July. I am extremely excited and hope that we put in the same amount of hard work and honesty to recreate the same magic again, " she said, adding that the film's second schedule will happen in Chandigarh.
The actress walked for designer label SVA at the ongoing Summer - Resort edition of Lakme Fashion Week and she looked like a diva in an Indian feminine outfit, which accentuated her curves.
(The writer's trip is at the invitation of Lakme Fashion Week organisers. Nivedita can be contacted at nivedita. s@ians. in)