N. LOTHUNGBENI HUMTSOE
New Delhi– Neither sufficiently addressed nor boldly discussed, conversations on lingerie have for long been restricted to private settings. They only surface briefly when you want to narrate an uncomfortable encounter with a store assistant, or on the rare occasion you find something so comfortable you absolutely must share with your besties! But such is the conundrum of this category, that there just isn’t enough discussion about it despite being an everyday basic!
Bhumi Pednekar is well-known for using her voice and influence for relevant and need-of-the-hour conversations; she now extends her commitment to yet another cause close to her heart: women’s everyday comfort and lingerie!
In collaboration with Nykd by Nykaa, the intimate wear brand from the House of Nykaa Fashion, Bhumi will be the bold face of the brand through a disruptive campaign titled ‘Bra Aisa, Braless Jaisa’.
Speaking to IANSlife exclusively on the collaboration, Bhumi reveals she hopes that the latest campaign will strip off the discomfort and awkwardness associated with discussing basic, real issues women face every day, particularly when it comes to wardrobe essentials like lingerie.
Q: What is it that compelled you to collaborate with a lingerie brand Nykd?
A: I think what drew me to my collaboration with Nykd was the fact that discussing lingerie is such a taboo subject. Women have suffered for years because they simply do not have enough knowledge about what type of bra they should wear. I believe that comfort is extremely important when it comes to wearing lingerie. Nykd kind of resonated with all of my needs and desires of a perfect bra. That’s why working with Nykd was so exciting for me because the brand, in general, is empowering. It provides women with the comfort of talking about the lingerie they want and desire. It’s all about educating women on the fact that lingerie is supposed to make them feel good, which is why I think my collaboration with Nykd is special.
Q: What do you find so appealing about the narrative of the campaign?
A: The campaign’s narrative is essentially about owning who you are, being yourself, and being at ease in your own skin. Lingerie that feels like second skin, lingerie that gives you confidence, lingerie that literally feels like you forget you have worn it. You shouldn’t need to fuss over, nor should it bother you. That, I believe, is essentially what the campaign is about. It is about giving women the confidence to talk about lingerie. I’m very pleased with how the two films turned out. I’m very excited to be a part of a campaign that is going to be disruptive because we don’t have a lot of female actors who support lingerie the way it should be supported.
Q: Interestingly, most undergarment dealers in the local markets are all men or have male sales staff. Have you ever had an “oh no!” moment with your bra ‘bhaiyya’?
A: Absolute whether you go to a local store, or you go to malls, or big boutiques everywhere, it’s just men. Somebody like me who is not ashamed of buying bras and kind of owning up to what I want, it still makes me kind of uncomfortable. But I know of many instances with friends and family members, where they literally give in to the pressure and awkward shopping experience that their bra “bhaiyya” gives them. You know by the end of it only a woman recognises what comfort she needs. The sales staff, men in particular, have no idea how to measure the right size, what the needs of customers are, the needs certain bras cater to, and more than often women are so embarrassed that they just pick up whatever is given to them at first. I feel that will change with Nykd.
Q: What audacious, transparent approach is Nykd taking to educate and empower women about lingerie?
A: I think the first approach the intent of the brand, when they rope in an actor to represent them who they choose. I’m someone who has always tried pushing boundaries and spoken-up about things that are important that needed to be discussed through my films. I feel the brand is doing exactly that.
The campaign and its films talk about the right T-shirt bra for you, what is comfortable, and how a bra needs to feel. The film gives you tools to understand what the important factors a comfortable bra needs to deliver. I think that’s so important because I’ve had these issues when I have not worn the right bra and I have felt bloated, I’ve even had back aches and a bad shoulder, wire marks on my body!
A lot of it happened because I didn’t know it was because I was wearing the wrong bra. Luckily because of Nykd, there will be a lot of women who would have access to the right kind of information, as that’s what they are trying to give to women at large through this campaign. I really hope a lot of young adults don’t go through the problems that I went through just because of a bra. A piece of lingerie should feel like a second skin. It is not something that you need to keep adjusting and that keeps irritating you through the day. It needs to give you confidence.
Q: Your thoughts on when it comes to wearing sexy sari blouses, women in India don’t give it a second thought, but they don’t have the same attitude towards sexy lingerie or revealing tops?
A: You know that’s a great observation actually, I feel that a woman in sarees is always appreciated and why not, because a woman in a saree looks beautiful. But the moment it’s a cropped top, a bralette or bra, I feel there’s a lot of sexualisation that happens, which is really sad. But now there is an entire generation of millennials and Gen Z that are kind of changing the narrative and I feel very happy that I’m a part of that change.
I feel people today because of social media are owning up to who they are, they are happy to share their opinions and not being restricted to the conditioning that they have been subjected to. So, through cinema, through art, and everything that we are seeing around us, there is a definite change. A lot more women are owning up to their bodies, who they are, and what they like. So I really hope that how deep your cleavage is or how short your skirt is, is no longer a topic of conversation.
Q: In your films you’ve always played empowering women characters, is it important for female actors to ensure they choose films where women have strong narratives to set an example for viewers and create new stories?
A: It is extremely important for female actors to kind of change the narrative and that can only happen through the stories that one chooses. I’ve been very fortunate to have started with a “Dum Laga Ke Haisha”, followed by a series of films I did because I consciously choose roles that I feel are empowering for my gender or empowering to marginalised communities. This is how I can give back and be a part of the positive change that society needs.
Things have changed but the change isn’t big enough for us; for the world to be in an equal place, there is still a lot of bias. Through the stories that I enact, I hope I can keep changing perceptions, and we need more women in places of power. I love the brand Nykaa and Nykd because it’s a brand led by women, it’s a place where quality exists and it is so refreshing to work with equals who understand where you’re coming from and understand your point of view. (IANS)