Calling out fairness creams, matrimonial ads for endorsing the idea of fair is attractive; Bhumi hopes her dark-skinned character in Bala inspires change.
Like her first co-star Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar has a knack for bringing forth some uncomfortable truths even while making the audience chuckle in theatres.
"It has to be fun and quirky, but at the same time, it needs to leave them with a thought," she says, summing up her brand of cinema. If her last release Saand Ki Aankh showed that talent has little to do with age or gender, the actor's next, Bala, will hold up a mirror to society's obsession with fair skin.
"My character Latika is a dark-skinned but beautiful woman. Though she is confident, she constantly has her guards up because ever since she was a child, people teased her about her colour and called her names."
She adds how popular culture only further endorses the 'fair is beautiful' notion. "If you look around, you will see advertisements of fairness creams. In matrimonial ads, everyone wants a girl who is thin, tall and obviously fair. The obsession with fairness [stems from] the lack of awareness that our country has. The film will try and demolish the idea of ugly being associated with dark [skin]."
Through the lens of Khurrana's character who is dealing with premature balding and Pednekar's dark-skinned Latika, the Amar Kaushik-directed vehicle aims to propagate the idea of self-respect and self-love.
"As a society, we have set such wrong benchmarks of beauty. I have taken it upon myself to break the set definition of beauty because it is subjective. Each of us is different and we need to accept ourselves. When I read the script of Bala, its message of self-love instantly connected with me."