Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi say working on their upcoming feature "Double XL" has been a "personal and cathartic" experience.
The slice-of-life comedy drama, directed by Satramm Ramani of "Helmet" fame, explores the journey of two plus-size women, Rajshree Trivedi (Huma) from Meerut and Saira Khanna (Sonakshi) from New Delhi, as they navigate society’s beauty standards.
Sonakshi said working on the film felt like reliving her college days when she was often body shamed.
"This film was a cathartic experience. Even before we started our career, we faced a lot of body shaming because we were big children," the actor said at the film's promotional event here.
Growing up, Sonakshi recalled she never had a role model who made her believe it was "okay" to look a certain way.
"We never had those role models, so it was important for us to become those people for the audience who is watching this movie. Everybody needs that reassurance growing up. It's important to make people believe that it's not always about how you look. It's a very personal film for both of us," she added.
Huma said the story of "Double XL" resonated with her as throughout her 10 year journey in the movies, she has been told that she doesn't fit the "mould" of a conventional Hindi film heroine.
"Both Sonakshi and I have had very different journeys in films. But both of us have been told numerous times that we don't fit into the mould of a conventional Hindi film heroine. We want to know what that mould is? Because that couldn't stop us from achieving our dreams.
"As public figures, we face so much for being the way we are. I can't even imagine what other girls and boys go through everyday." The funny treatment plus-size people receive in movies always bothered her, she added.
"If there is a plus size character in the film, they are at the centre of the joke. In this film, we don't want people to laugh at them but with them. After being called a big girl my whole life, I was doing this film... I always believed I'm not a big girl, I'm a beautiful girl. This is for all those who have been told they are misfits," Huma said.
"Double XL" is produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Vipul D Shah, Ashwin Varde, Rajesh Bahl, Saqib Saleem, Huma and Mudassar Aziz.
Saqib said as somebody who has been guilty of body shaming and realised his mistake with time, the subject felt relevant to come on board as a producer.
"I've been guilty of body shaming. When I was growing up, our conditioning was such that we called people fat, thin, dark, anything very casually. In a way, with this film, I'm atoning for my sins... But on a serious note, I feel it's a very relevant film and I've seen this happening a lot in my life. I'm just fortunate that I got to collaborate with these amazing people. They have all enhanced the film with whatever they have done," he said.
Also starring Zaheer Iqbal and Mahat Raghavendra,"Double XL'' is presented by T-Series, Wakaoo Films and Reclining Seats Cinema. The film is scheduled to be released on Friday.