Interview

Dhoni biopic would be talked about for a long time: Bhumika Chawla


The actress plays Mahendra Singh Dhoni's sister in M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story.

Keyur Seta

Bhumika Chawla became quite popular in the early 2000s. This was largely because of her role in Tere Naam (2003), where she was paired opposite Salman Khan. But she wasn’t seen in the Hindi arena much after that as she concentrated more on South Indian films. With M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, she has returned to Hindi cinema after a gap of nine years. She shares her experience and answers a lot of queries regarding her career and life. 

What was the reason for taking up this role in the film?
I wanted to be a part of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s journey. I wanted to be a part of a biopic which after few years will also be talked about. When people talk of cricket, they will want to see it and know his journey. The new generation after 10-15 years would also want to see his journey. They would want to know about him. That is why I took this up.

What exactly is your character in the film?
As a sister, she was very close to her Dhoni. They shared a very special bond during his growing up years. Whenever Dhoni had something to talk or share, he would talk to her.

You are playing Dhoni’s sister in the film. Have you met her?
No, I haven’t met her. I have not even met Dhoni.

Were you concerned about the length of your role? There are too many characters in the film. 
Not really, because I understand that not always do you get the entire screen time. Sometimes, even a role with less screen time can be impactful. I understand that as an actor. 

How was your experience of working with Sushant Singh Rajput?
I see Sushant coming up now. He is doing good films. He is hardworking and very humble and grounded. He has no airs. 

You are appearing in a Hindi film after a long time. Were you not happy with the kind of roles offered?
Last year and last to last year I was offered a few roles. But I refused them as I didn’t find them very interesting. I didn’t want to do them. 

What kind of roles are you looking at? Are you offered anything after M.S. Dhoni? 
As an actor you would want to do everything. You are always hungry (laughs). You are always wanting to do the best of everything. Not right now. I am going to look at scripts which would interest me. I will say yes only after that. I used to regret not doing a few roles I was offered after 2007. I don’t regret any more. 

You have acted in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi and Bhojpuri movies. How do you get a hang of so many languages?
I have got used to Telugu by now as I have done a lot of films in it. The same is for Tamil. Kannada is okay. Bhojpuri is not so tough. But Malayalam is very difficult. I think you will take forever to master it (laughs). 

What is the difference you experience working with mainstream Hindi films and regional cinema?
Now regional and mainstream Hindi is pretty much the same. I don’t see too much difference, except the scale of the audience. Otherwise, they (regional films) are also doing large scale productions. Here also you have these huge budget films. 

Which actors from this generation would you like to work with?
I would love to work with Ranbir Kapoor. I think he is brilliant. He plays his characters so well. Whether it’s Wake Up Sid or Rocket Singh — Salesman Of The Year, he gets into the characters very beautifully. Even Ranveer Singh. The kind of energy he has. You can see it on the screen.

You are still remembered for Tere Naam. How did you find Salman Khan as your co-star?
Salman is a very nice person. But he has his own moods. This was then. Right now I don’t know. It has been very nice working with him because as a person he is very good. He is extremely giving and very kind. 

You did a film Luv U Alia, where you played the role of a mother of the actress. But you don’t look like a mother of a grown up girl. So, were you hesitant to accept the role?
Thank you. No I wasn’t. I was okay with it.