A guy tried to kiss me, said he loved me, says Swara Bhasker on casting couch
Swara Bhasker said that a man tried to kiss her on the ear and told her he loved her during an uncomfortable work meeting.Updated: Jul 01, 2018 18:08 IST
Swara Bhasker is no stranger to provoking a reaction - she wrote an open letter to director Sanjay Leela Bhansali in which she said that his film, Padmaavat, made her feel like a vagina, and she has been a vocal opponent of online trolls. At the recent Express Adda talk, held on June 28, the actor spoke about feminism and her own personal experiences with the casting couch in the Hindi film industry.
She recalled a story of a meeting during which a man who claimed to be a producer’s manager came on to her. After successfully evading his advances and managing to escape, he attempted to kiss her. “When I got out this guy actually tried to kiss my ear and said ‘I love you baby’ and I kind of did that (gestures shirking away) so he got a mouthful of my hair so I was just like… ‘so that kind of stuff happens.’ It’s all a part of casting couch, right?” she said.
Recently, Padmaavat actor Deepika Padukone also told her own story of being harassed, in an interview to the Evening Standard.“There were lots of things I was advised (to do),” she said. “To get a boob job, do the beauty pageants. They felt it was the right way to be recognised or picked up by a Bollywood director or producer. It might be an easier way to achieve what you want to achieve. But I haven’t been that person; I’ve always followed my gut.”
Like Deepika, Swara also feels that the Me Too and Time’s Up movements have inspired a conversation about a topic that was very much an open secret. The movements were sparked off after multiple allegations of harassment were made against producer Harvey Weinstein. “Feminism is about a thought that there should be equality amongst the genders,” Swara said. “And equality not just of representation but equality of opportunity and equality of accountability, which is something that not just women but a lot of communities in India have not had, whether it is caste, whether it is women. And for me, feminism is about giving women choice. So if some women choose to be conservative or choose to deny themselves their own rights, what can I say? I think it is completely legitimate to ask those women that why do they want to tie themselves down?”
Swara recently appeared in the film Veere Di Wedding, which featured four women in the lead roles and went on to become a box office success. While her Veere co-star Sonam Kapoor has been quoted as saying that the film has broken the glass ceiling as far as female representation in Bollywood goes, Swara made it clear in an interview that the film didn’t claim to be a feminist story.
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