Jan 312018

Defending her stance on Padmaavat that it made her feel reduced to a “vagina only”, actress Swara Bhasker has said the questions she raised via her lengthy open letter were legitimate and should have become a part of national-level discussion

Swara Bhaskar
Swara Bhaskar

Defending her stance on “Padmaavat” that it made her feel reduced to a “vagina only”, actress Swara Bhasker has said the questions she raised via her lengthy open letter were legitimate and should have become a part of national level discussion. Asked what prompted her to write an open letter to the “Padmaavat” filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Swara said here: “‘Padmaavat’ has become part of national conversation and I also want to remind people that from the beginning, I supported ‘Padmaavat’, and criticized The Shree Rajput Karni Sena only because each artist should have freedom to express their thoughts through their art in a safer and democratic environment.

“But once a film get released, then it comes for public consumption and I feel this film became an important film for our country as it opened up a discussion about so many issues. I thought that my questions about this film should also become a part of that national level discussion and that’s why I published this letter on a public platform.”
Swara spoke out about it on the sidelines of the Nexbrands Vision Awards 2018 on Tuesday here. Her letter last week was a scathing comment, criticising the Jauhar scene that features the film’s lead actress Deepika Padukone.

Swara said watching the glorification of Jauhar (self-immolation), she felt like a woman was being reduced to “vagina only”. She got trolled also on the social media. “I think everyone in this country has freedom to express their opinions, so whatever I felt about ‘Padmavaat’, I expressed through an open letter,” she said, stressing that she expressed her opinion in a “very polite and respectful manner” and did not have any vicious intent behind it. “I had a few questions in mind which I felt was very legit questions, so I asked it. If people do not agree, that’s completely fine with me. We live in a democracy, so it’s a nice thing that we have difference in opinions on issues and I think we should have debate and discussions because art always has that intent,” she said.

Known for films like “Nil Battey Sannata”, “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo”, “Anarkali of Aarah” and more, Swara has also been a part of Bhansali’s “Guzaarish”. Asked if she sees her free opinion affecting her reputation in the film industry or a chance of reduced film offers, she said: “I didn’t give much thought to it before writing it as I didn’t have bad intentions about the film or anybody related with the film. “I asked legit questions and I think this kind of conversation is necessary in our society. I think it is good that it’s happening and apart from that, I didn’t think people will take so much interest in my letter. I didn’t know that people of India have so much interest in reading.”

Besides that, she said she never thought the word “vagina” would create “such a controversy”. The actress became angry when asked if she wrote the letter to Bhansali as a publicity stunt or if anyone offered her money to do so. Swara said: “Will you give me money to speak? Till today, media hasn’t given me money, so next time when you want to ask question to me like that, you should pay me first to answer it.

“See.. people can easily target a female actor when such type of a controversy happens, saying that she has received money to speak on such issue or she has bad character or she is jealous or she is doing all this to garner public attention. So all these talks about me has happened earlier as well, so I don’t think I need to respond to these rubbish talks.”

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