Swara Bhaskar: Don't attack the film industry

Impossible to produce world class content if filmmakers face restrictions, says the actor
Last Updated 17 August 2021, 08:16 IST

Swara Bhaskar stood out with her versatile performances in 'Nil Battey Sannata', 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' and 'Veere Di Wedding'. Her latest, 'Dobara Alvida', a short film directed by Shashank Shekhar Singh, shows that she doesn't always need feature-length films to portray a character in all its hues.

A take on modern-day relationships, the film has two estranged lovers crossing paths before saying goodbye again.

In a chat with Showtime, the Bollywood actor spoke about the film, her choice of projects, how she handles trolls and more. Excerpts:

What impressed you most about 'Dobara Alvida'?

The film takes one through a very familiar idea of an unfinished love story. I like the way the director has crafted this universal emotion that we have all experienced at some point in our lives. I also liked the way he brought in the idea of a shared ride between ex-lovers and what follows are indeed unusual coincidences. This is a compelling love story.

You are a risk taker. What kind of scripts interest you?

Yes. I always like to try the unusual and choose characters that challenge the performer in me. The role has to excite and engage me first before it can engage the audience. I choose scripts that offer me something new to learn. I also trust new talent and give them a chance because I was also new until somebody gave me a chance. More than actors, cinema first belongs to the director's medium.

In the web series 'Rasbhari', 'Bhaag Beanie Bhaag' and 'Flesh' that came during the pandemic, we saw you play contrasting roles...

In 'Rasbhari' my character challenges stereotypes about women. 'Bhaag Beanie Bhaag' resonates with young people because parents struggle to understand the choices of their children. Parents were born in a generation that was not equipped to understand that being viral on YouTube could be a career option. They are used to the idea of being in stable jobs with regular incomes. 'Flesh' again brings to the forefront the harsh realities of child trafficking.

With series like 'Tandav' and 'Bombay Begums' coming under fire, do you think creative liberties are being curtailed?

It's very short-sighted to attack the creative arts and the film industry. This is the first sign of a society sinking toward totalitarianism and fascism when the powers that be dictate what people should wear or what they should eat or what they should and shouldn't do. We will never be able to make good world-class content if we don't give our filmmakers a free, fair and creative environment. If they work in a controlled environment then we will only have propaganda films.

Do you think writers and actors are scared to express their views?

Yes, because this is a country where rapists are not going to jail, but the executives of Amazon and Netflix are scared because FIRs have been filed against them.

(Published 18 June 2021, 18:07 IST)

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