Swara Bhaskar is no conventional Bollywood actress. She can outperform her co-stars even in a supporting role. In an industry which is largely apolitical, Swara isn’t afraid to be vocal about her political views. Her open letter regarding the recent student protests at Jawaharlal Nehru University, which happens to be her alma mater, went viral some time ago. If this report is to be believed, the letter that slammed the central government’s anti-student stances, cost Swara a national award.
In a recent interview with the Indian Express, Swara said she was very open about the fact that she had political views. “I don’t believe politics is a bad thing — just don’t do it badly or be corrupt,” she said.
“I got trolled for that (the open letter). I believe that people start abusing when they don’t have any logical counter argument. At a time, when most actors are not taking a clear political stand, you nurture the dream of becoming India’s prime minister. I am a self-destructive idiot. Have you not noticed I play Salman Khan’s sister, mother to a 15-year-old and I’m now talking about politics (laughs)?”, said Swara. She also revealed that she wanted to get into politics. “At least, I will work in the public sphere, though that would be related to something that I know — acting, theatre, culture. I am already part of a progressive artists’ collective called Swaang, whose members are from the film industry. We have a YouTube channel called Swaang Songs where we post protest videos,” she added.
A sociology graduate from JNU, Swara rose to fame with a minor, yet pivotal role in Anand L Rai’s Ranjhaana, where she played a youngster from Varanasi. Her upcoming release, Nil Battey Sannata, is already receiving rave reviews from the industry. Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, who watched the film, tweeted, “Saw Nil Battey Sannata. Inspiring, moving, uplifting! Great film! Outstanding performances! A must watch! ”
Elaborating on how JNU and Delhi University shaped the person and artiste she is, Swara said, “My politics and beliefs were not just shaped by the teachers or the general milieu, but by the people I became friends with, whose lives were different from mine. You have to look beyond your known limited experience. Politics should be based on compassion.”
In the interview, she also said that the current political scenario in India was unfavourable for artistes. “The way our politics is structured, we put our artists and filmmakers in a vulnerable place. Look at the way Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan were attacked; Aarakshan was banned in three states on the basis of its trailer.”
The 27-year-old actress said protecting the artiste’s freedom of expression was important to a country. “People complain that we make bad films. If you create a culture where to be stupid is safe, then you will get stupid art and stupid entertainment. We should be able to protect our artists and their freedom of expression.”