Bhumi Pednekar - social distancing

The film industry has come to a complete standstill over fears of the Coronavirus. Artists are now staring at an indefinite break wherein they don’t know when they’ll be on a film set again. Many are using this forced break to spend time with family, catch up on movies and TV shows, and entertain people on Instagram. Film Companion will be checking in on artists to see how they’re coping with social distancing:

What’s your mind space right now? 

My mind space is just to be alert, to be aware, and to make sure to spread as much awareness and correct information as possible. There has been so much misinformation that is doing the rounds that it is scaring people and causing a lot of panic. I’m reading information about people hoarding food, sanitizers and masks. They just need to be rational about the situation. Times are very scary and I am at home with my family.

How can art save us from the gloominess outside?

Art is a beautiful way to get away from any situation. Right now everybody is in a constant state of paranoia. The moment you start watching a film or reading a book or doing/learning anything new – creative or otherwise at home – it can take you to a different world and that is the best way you can disconnect. Art is also an expression of self-love and maintaining your positivity.

How do you stay creatively motivated at times like this – when you don’t know when you’ll shoot again?

In the last few years, I have not had the time to expose myself to a lot of reading, poetry, articles, motivational talks. I am only going to increase my knowledge and re-educate myself by reading up. This will help me perform better because life is going to go on reset mode when I start shooting again.

Are there things that you’ve put off for a while that you hope to do now?

So in the 3 years since I have moved into my new house, I have not really had the time to decorate or re-do/refurbish the way I wanted to and that is exactly what I am doing. There is nothing much that I can I do but just organizing my room the way I wanted or re-organizing my wardrobe, my essentials, my books, my awards. I am on a cleaning spree. I have always wanted this and it could never happen in one go because time was a fight. So this is what I am doing and its giving me a lot of pleasure where I am restructuring my entire life. 

Apart from that, some hobbies that I could not pursue – like I want to learn how to cook from my mother, take all the family recipes from her and pass it on to my family whenever I have one. Also, I am FaceTiming my friends which I have not done in such a long time and I’m speaking to my relatives. Time makes you realize that there is so much that you are not doing because everything is on a pause.

What’s on your binge list? 

There are lot of things on my list. I haven’t seen the first season of Stranger Things, the latest season of The Crown and Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. There are many movies like 1917 that I really want to catch up on.

I think in times like these we should meditate. We should be aware and re-read whatever is coming on WhatsApp. There are messages coming on Instagram because it is causing a lot of panic, anxiety and we should rely more on reliable and trusted sources for news and any updates.

World over film shoots are stalled, theatres shut, releases pushed, and daily wage workers are under threat – what worries you most about how the industry will brave this storm?

This is something that kept troubling me – what will happen to the people who work on a daily wage basis? But it is nice to see that the Producers Guild came up with a fund where they are raising money for the daily wage workers. In the time of calamity where people are looking out for each other, the idea is in whatever way to raise funds and help each other. We are a very strong, unique industry that always stands together whenever required. And when things come back to being normal we will be on the right track like all other industries.

There’s a general sense of panic and anxiety in the air. Is there anything you recommend people watch or listen to calm their nerves? 

I think in times like these we should meditate. We should be aware and re-read whatever is coming on WhatsApp. There are messages coming on Instagram because it is causing a lot of panic, anxiety and we should rely more on reliable and trusted sources for news and any updates. We should follow government handles, see what the WHO is saying to just calm everyone down. And the biggest thing is that people should know that there is no need to be ashamed if you contract the virus, it is not in our control. 

If you are unwell please do not hide it because that is irresponsible behaviour. Please consult a doctor. Just the right knowledge about what this pandemic is about will really calm you down.

Lastly, for people constantly in the public eye, is there any silver lining to this forced social distancing? 

The loss of human lives and the amount of people affected is just making me sad. Right now is the time to protect ourselves and everyone we love by staying at home and fight the virus. We are all getting time to be with our families, we should cherish every second of that and be grateful.

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