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Friday, September 22, 2023

Nushrat Bharucha On Dream Girl & Breaking Gender Stereotypes in Bollywood

Nushrat Bharucha has always been an incredible talent that deserves to be explored and showcased more. 

From her initial days in the Punchnama series to now, we have seen growth and more opportunities given to her.

In fact, her performance in the highly successful Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (SKTKS) has left us wanting to see more of Bharucha’s craft as an actor.

Post SKTKS’ triumph, it seems like Nushrat is on a roll as we will see her opposite Ayushmann Khurrana in the stereotype-shattering film Dream Girl.

Set in an intensely crazy, unusual, bizarre space in North India, our protagonist Karm (Ayushmann) stumbles upon a job like never before.

He joins a love line office and everyone thinks he will not fit in until they hear his beautiful voice and becomes the most popular female friendship caller, Pooja.

So, what happens when –a Haryanvi cop, a young spoiled Delhi brat, Karm’s Girlfriend’s brother all fall in love with Pooja?!

In a special interview with Filme Shilmy, Nushrat talks about doing Dream Girl and other films which challenge gender stereotypes.

You’ve always done films which challenge gender stereotypes. Is this the reason which drew you to Dream Girl?

My films have always been a choice from what I enjoy watching and enjoy being a part of.

I completely look at it from an audience’s point of view.

Today we’re in a good space where the film industry is concerned.

Nowadays, different/interesting content or content challenging stereotypes – people want to enjoy, talk about new and different films/topics.

That is already a trend which audiences want and there is a demand for that.

So, I completely choose a movie from the audience’s perspective and I become the audience when hearing a narration.

How much input does your character Dolly have in Karm’s life… Especially during his journey as Pooja?

I am basically his dream girl in the film… That is the definition of my character.

Dolly is a small-town-girl but has independent thoughts in a very simple life where she is a homemaker.

She believes that is a very responsible job to do, equally as responsible as working in an office.

Job as a homemaker is important as we have to ensure that everyone eats on time and are well-rested. That’s what the girl says in the movie.

Despite educated and having a degree, she wants to run a house. So she finds a man who believes in this thought of hers.

She is oblivious to the fact that he is speaking to others in a female voice and finds out through the criss-cross path of different characters.

The main story revolves around a very simple thought and message: We take into an unknown voice in a call, rather than speak with our nearest and dearest.

We’d rather speak with someone who is not actively/physically present with us.

It’s making people realise that we are living in a different world now.

As you mentioned, what was your experience like playing Ayushmann’s ‘dream girl’ in the film?

It was very fun (laughs). I think he’s an absolute gentleman and so much fun to be around.

I had a blast… It’s the first time he did a big song where he’s lip-syncing in a love song… So there were a few firsts for him. 

It was quite funny sometimes to see him say “I don’t know how to do these romantic steps” and things like that.

Truly, it was a great experience.

This film breaks the glass ceiling of masculine roles in society. Why do you feel it’s taken this long for it to happen?

I don’t think its ‘Dream Girl’ that has taken so long to come. As an industry, we have taken time to accept films like the Punchanam series, Pink or Piku.

Recently, Badhaai Ho is such a simple film in which a middle-aged couple with grown children is preparing for a newborn, despite facing societal backlash.

The film is so widely accepted and enjoyed. Now, audiences are opening up their minds to changes in society and how people wish to live in society.

They are trying to accept people with different lifestyles and who have different choices. 

That mentality is reflecting well in films nowadays and subsequently, they are succeeding. 

In an interview, you mentioned that you faced a lot of rejections in the beginning. How did you overcome those?

Primarily for me, it was a test of my patience and taught me perseverance. 

If those tough times did not happen, I would not be the person I am today. 

As such, I wouldn’t have had the confidence as an artist to take time in getting the character right and delivering a good performance.

What you see on screen is a reflection on my life… I’m cutting through it and being there!

Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety was a huge success. Besides work prospects, in what way has life changed for you?

The fact that the audiences have loved for us, especially for the different roles we play.

Even though you hated her in Sonu Ki Titu Ki Sweety and Pyaar Ka Punchnama, you still end up loving her.

It’s the audience’s love which has got me to where I am today. Honestly, I completely out it to them.

They have changed my life. They have forced people in the industry to work with me and give more opportunities.

I think that the demand to see more of me is what has changed.

In the past, I would do one film in two years and now I’m doing three films in a year. 

The sheer volume and diversity of my films is the actual change.

Going forward, what will be your main focus point as an actor when choosing projects?

To do projects I’ve not done before and to choose roles which are challenging.

If a character doesn’t challenge me, then of course, definitely the film and script will play a huge part.

The script is always the hero of a film.

I genuinely believe that it’s the script which does 100 crores rather than an actor. 

Dream Girl is a comedy of errors, the film is set against the backdrop of Mathura where Ayushmann for the first time, would be seen experimenting with his voice.

Written and directed by Raaj Shaandilyaa, It also stars Annu Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, Abhishek Bannerjee, Manjot Singh, Nidhi Bisht, Rajesh Sharma and Raj Bhansali.

The film releases in cinemas on 13th September 2019.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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