People get so intimidated by the very thought of women having any sort of desire: Bhumi Pednekar

Bollywood actress Bhumi Pednekar had made one of the most uncharacteristic debuts in Hindi cinema. Shunning the route of playing the slender, glamorous love interest, she appeared on the screen as a borderline obese wife rejected by her husband in Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015). She comes to the theatres now with yet another ground-breaking role in her latest film, Thank You for Coming, described as “a sex-positive modern comedy”.

In Thank You for Coming, lead star Bhumi Pednekar (centre) plays “a 32-year-old girl who never had an orgasm”. Photo courtesy: TIFF

The film had its world premiere recently at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2023). On that occasion, Bhumi said in an interview that a woman’s orgasm was still a taboo subject. “People get so intimidated by the very thought of women having any sort of desire,” she said.

Thank You for Coming is about a woman who refuses to be classified as “a bore or a whore” and pursues her own pleasure. Bhumi has veteran Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor as her co-star in the film.

“My main motivation [for working in this film] was that no one honestly speaks about [a woman’s orgasm]. People get so intimidated by the very thought of women having any sort of desire. They’re considered as enablers. Women consider it more as their duty than a pleasurable experience. We have statistics that nearly 70 per cent of women do not have orgasms,” said Bhumi.

The actress said that the film was about female pleasure, friendship, marriage, and orgasms. Her character spent her entire adult life seeking a satisfying love match, but could never have an orgasm.

Bhumi Pednekar says that the film is about female pleasure, friendship, marriage, and orgasms. Photo courtesy: TIFF

Elaborating on the core concept, Bhumi said, “[Thank You for Coming] 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.”

Indeed, the film is about empowerment, of which female orgasm is only a sign. “Most women are unaware of the fact that they’re supposed to get pleasure out of sex,” said Bhumi. “It’s not a one-way path; also, it’s not just about physical intimacy. Orgasm is a powerful thing in helping you to connect with yourself. It helps to understand what you like and what you don’t like. Women should have the courage to speak out. I feel this film speaks about being women, in general.”

—This article represents modified content, derived from the original interview published by IBNS-TWF and shared with Connected to India