Bollywood film Thank You for Coming that was world-premiered in Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2023) is a sex-positive modern comedy about a woman refusing to be classified as “a bore or a whore” and pursuing her own pleasure. Bhumi Pednekar plays the lead in the film with Anil Kapoor in a supporting role. Bhumi Pednekar, who made her unconventional film debut with Dum Laga Ke Haisha in 2015, in conversation with IBNS-TWF correspondent Asha Bajaj on the sidelines of TIFF2023 says the film is about female pleasure, friendship, marriage, and orgasms in which her character spent her entire adult life seeking a satisfying love match, but she’s never been able to have an orgasm.
Q: Your first film Dum Laga Ke Haisha was about an overweight woman though you played a YRF (Yash Raj Films) heroine. You began with a film on body-shaming in 2015 and now essay this character in a film about female pleasure, friendship and marriage. What motivated you to accept this role?
A: The film speaks about how patriarchy over generations has impacted our everyday being. The generational social conditions that women are dealing with make their existence difficult. The story is also very personal to me. It is about a 32-year old girl who never had an orgasm. She is just very confused. The film is about self-love, about accepting who you are. It all has to start within you and if you love yourself, you do not have to seek love outside, or in orgasm or sex.
Q: What was your reaction when you came to know that you would be working with Anil Kapoor?
A: Earlier I was very nervous but then I realized that he was very kind, motivating and understanding. Knowing the impact he has on people, he made me feel very comfortable and I really admire him for this.
Q. What motivated you most to explore this topic of female pleasure?
A. My main motivation was that no one honestly speaks about it (orgasm). People get so intimidated by the very thought of women having any sort of desire. They are considered as enablers. Women consider more of it as their duty than a pleasurable experience. We have statistics that nearly 70% of women do not have orgasms.
Q. What was one thing that you most liked about this film?
The best thing about this movie was that it deals with orgasm, what it is and how it affects one’s well being. Most women are unaware of the fact that they are supposed to get pleasure out of sex. It is not a one way path, also it is not just about physical intimacy. Orgasm is also a powerful thing in helping you to connect with yourself. It helps to understand what you like and what you do not like. Women should have the courage to speak out. I feel this film speaks about being women in general.
Q. How did you feel about a 32-year old woman who never had an orgasm and could seek very little pleasure after an intimate physical connection?
I feel that the woman who does not have an orgasm should just be herself. It is not the end of the world. A woman should seek inner pleasure and not seek pleasure from outside sources like orgasm. I really admire the role played by Natasha Rastogi as my mother who has a track of her boy friend and is empowered and liberated. Her story was so inspiring.