‘Padmaavat’: Swara Bhaskar’s Searing Open Letter to Bhansali
The Anarkali Movies Actor Swara Bhaskar Writes Open Letter to Bhansali, ‘the man of the moment’, whose directorial magnum opus starring “Deepika Padukone”, “Shahid Kapoor” and “Ranveer Singh”, saw the light of day after months of being embroiled in controversy.
The Padmaavat Movie is still engulfed in the fires of the regressive frame of minds and also physical violence by fringe teams. Padmavati’s marvelous representation of the archaic technique of ‘Jauhar’ has actually come under attack.
Below are some passages from Bhaskar’s no-holds-barred letter to a digital magazine regreting the glorification of the out-of-date convention, that rejects females the right to live; corresponding it with the story of sufferer shaming, where women’s bodies are regarded as vehicles of ‘honour’.
The verbalize letter does not fail to promote the liberty speech and also expression of artists, in spite of its objection to the representation of ‘Jauhar’. A passionate viewer of his films, she admitted that her concept of epic love was molded by Bhansali and she claimed that she always has and also will remain a fan.
“I want you to know, I really fought for your film when it was still called Padmavati. I grant you, I fought on Twitter timelines –not on the battlefield, and I sparred with trolls not raving manic Muslims; but still, I fought for you. I said to TV cameras the things I thought you were not being able to say because your Rs 185 crore was on the line…And so it was with great excitement and the zeal of a believer that I booked first day, first show tickets for Padmaavat.” – Swara Bhaskar
Swara Bhaskar plainly and briefly explained her opinions of just how the film brought her back to the Dark Ages.
Women Have the Right to Live. Period.
- Ladies have the right to live, in spite of being raped, sir.
- Ladies can live, despite the death of their partners, male ‘guards’, ‘owners’, ‘controllers of their sexuality’. whatever you understand the men to be.
- Ladies have the right to live– independent of whether males are living or otherwise.
- Women are not only walking speaking vaginas.
- Yes, females have vaginas, but they have even more to them. Their whole life need not be concentrated on the vagina and controlling it, safeguarding it, keeping its pureness. (Maybe in the 13th century that was the case, but in the 21st century, we do not have to register for these restricting suggestions. We definitely do not proclaim them. )
- It would certainly be nice if the vaginas are respected; yet in the regrettable instance that they are not, a woman can continuously live. She need not be penalized with a fatality because another person disrespected her vagina without her permission.
- There is life outside the vaginal area, and so there can be life after rape. (I know I repeat, but this point can never be worried enough.).
- In general, there is more to life compared to the vagina.
She explained how lionizing the idea of Jauhar is deeply patriarchal and misogynistic.
“I understand that Jauhar and Sati are a part of our social history. These happened. I understand that they are sensational, shocking dramatic occurrences that lend themselves to splendid, stark and stunning visual representation; especially in the hands of a consummate maker like yourself — but then so were the lynchings of blacks by murderous white mobs in the 19th century in the US – sensational, shocking dramatic social occurrences. Does that mean one should make a film about it with no perspective on racism? Or, without a comment on racial hatred? Worse, should one make a film glorifying lynchings as a sign of some warped notion of hot-bloodedness, purity, bravery – I don’t know, I have no idea how possibly one could glorify such a heinous hate crime.” – Swara Bhaskar
Swara writes about how the film unwittingly bolsters the prevalent rape-condoning mindset in the country.
“Rajasthan in the 13th century with its cruel practices is merely the historical setting of the ballad you have adapted into the film Padmaavat. The context of your film is India in the 21st century; where five years ago, a girl was gang-raped brutally in the country’s capital inside a moving bus. She didn’t commit suicide because her honour had been desecrated, Sir. She fought her six rapists…A Sati- Jauhar apologist or supporter attempts to annihilate the woman altogether if the genitals have been violated or if her genitals are no longer under the control of a ‘rightful’ male owner. In both cases, the attempt and idea are to reduce women to a sum total of their genitals.The context of art, any art is the time and place when it was created and consumed.” – Swara Bhaskar
Bhaskar went on to reiterate that film idealized self-immolation despite its disclaimer.
“Then in the climax, breathtakingly shot of course – hundreds of women bedecked in red like Goddess Durga as bride rushed into the Jauhar fire while a raving Muslim psychopathic villain loomed over them and a pulsating musical track – that had the power of an anthem; seduced the audience into being awestruck and admiring of this act. Sir, if this is not glorification and support of Sati andJauhar, I really do not know what is.” – Swara Bhaskar
Bhaskar invoked the painstaking struggle of reform-minded Indians, who criminalized and abolished the practice of Sati.
“I felt my existence was illegitimate because God forbid anything untoward happened to me, I would do everything in my power to sneak out of that fiery pit– even if that meant being enslaved to a monster like Khilji forever. I felt in that moment that it was wrong of me to choose life over death. It was wrong to have the desire to live. This Sir is the power of cinema.” – Swara Bhaskar