MUMBAI: It is a surreal feeling for actor Aaditi Pohankar who is receiving congratulatory messages from people across the world after watching her Netflix original series "She".
The actor said she feels encouraged to do more work going forward.
Co-written and created by Imtiaz Ali, "She" features Aaditi as a timid Mumbai constable who realizes the potential of her dormant sexuality after she goes undercover to expose a drug ring.
The show also stars Vijay Varma.
For the 25-year-old, playing her character, Bhumika Pardesi, was an inspiring journey.
"When I was shooting for the film, it was another feeling of achievement because the script was giving me the power and that resonated with the audience. Today, when I relive my times as Bhumika, it gives me so much inspiration to work more and more," Aaditi told PTI in an interview.
The actor said playing the character has given her the strength, that she said, she can stand in front of anybody and say "please give me the script, then we shall talk".
"I feel so empowered as an actor today. I'm enjoying this completely without thinking what will happen next," she added.
For Aaditi, the journey of "She" started nearly two years ago when she met Imtiaz at the screening of "Laila Majnu" and asked him to check her showreel.
She had featured in Marathi blockbuster "Lai Bhaari", also starring Riteish Deshmukh, and had done two films down south till then.
When Imtiaz saw her showreel, he called her for a meeting, where to her surprise, designer Aki Narula was also present.
"He started narrating the script but said this isn't the kind of part I'd do, as I'm more on the rom-com side. He said the part is of an unattractive girl. But the second he started to speak about Bhumika, I could feel certain connection with the character."
For the series, Aaditi had to get into the character of a cop who has to moonlight as a sex worker and thus, involved a certain intimacy which the actor wasn't sure she could pull off.
Coming from a family of Hindustani Classical musicians, the actor was a bit wary.
"I had told Imtiaz sir that I'm essentially a shy girl. When he asked me till what extent I can do things for the show, I said it isn't about the extent, I trust you completely and will do whatever you say. The best part about Imtiaz sir is that he never makes you feel uncomfortable about anything."
"There is nothing ever that you have to do. If you're able to do it, great, if not, we will do something else. Our jugalbandi (tuning) really worked. Nothing felt awkward, thanks to him and Vijay Varma who kept saying sorry after every take," she added.
Co-directed by Avinash Das and Arif Ali, the series also focuses on the complex equation between narcotics dealer Sasya, played by Vijay, and Bhumika.
The actor said the fear her character feels in front of Sasya was something she channeled from real life.
"The first day we rehearsed, I had called Vijay and asked if we could rehearse at his house. That day I was a little scared because I had just met him and wondered what will he think. But I so wanted to get this out of my way, I said let's do this. We did a small acting exercise. That fear, the one I had that day, I used it throughout my character. I didn't know him, so as a woman I kept thinking what will he think." Post "She", Aaditi said, big producers have got in touch with her.
"I'm surprised that compliments are coming my way from across the world, from Los Angeles to South Africa. I can see myself doing commercial cinema. It should not be that because I am a performer, I get similar kind of roles. I'd like to dabble in both. I should, I can," she added.