Swara Bhaskar has made a mark in Bollywood by playing unconventional characters in movies like Tanu Weds Manu and Raanjhanaa. Her next, Nil Battey Sannata, will see her portray the role of a maid struggling to bring up her daughter. She feels, saves her from falling into the trap of doing stereotypical cinema.
She also believes that her ideals should reflect in the kind of work she chooses to do, be it films or theatre. The 28-year-old is known to not mince words when it comes to expressing her opinion.
Calling herself progressive and reckless at the same time, she says, “I usually end up doing something I fear the most, but if it’s something I strongly feel about I will do it,” said Bhaskar, who recently received a lot of flak for her open letter in support of Umar Khalid, the PhD student from Jawaharlal Nehru University, who was charged with sedition for raising anti-national slogans on campus.
Talking about the issue, she says, “I believe in progressive politics and don’t believe in being neutral. Appalled at what was going on in the country, I felt this was the only way to register my protest and at that time Kanhaiya or Khalid were not the heroes they are today.”
The open letter became a Twitter sensation. “I did not realise that it would mean falling out with my producers. I believe that I lost out on a National Award after I read something on those lines on an online portal where some sources confirmed the same, because of my take on the JNU sedition row. What could be worse (laughs)?” says the JNU alumus, further adding that she will be more careful about her timing but doesn’t regret having had her say in the matter.
Swara has a taste for protest poetry. She works with a motley group of actors, writers, directors, musicians and producers called Swaang, who share their videos on social media. She says she has a major problem with lyrics of Punjabi rap. “I don’t get what Yo Yo Honey Singh or other Punjabi rappers are trying to convey. I am okay with sexually explicit content and item numbers but I have a problem with people celebrating rape or other such violence,” she signs off.