Swara Bhaskar was last seen in Anaarkaali of Aarah wherein she essayed the role of an erotic singer who later fights against sexual abuse and violence. The movie was a reflection of our society and Swara was critically acclaimed for her performance.
Swara who is a self-proclaimed feminist has always been outspoken about her stand on gender equality and other issues of importance. In an interview to a leading daily, the talented actor revealed that she was groped during the promotions of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Speaking about the incident, Swara said, “The biggest challenge for a woman in a society where you have to be ashamed for what has happened to you, is to fight your impulse. I have done that, I have fought my impulses to make myself react. I have been groped during Prem Ratan Dhan Payo when we landed at Rajkot. I was travelling with Salman Sir and nobody realised, but there were around 2,000 people at the airport to see him. Despite the fact there was security, people got in and it was Anupam Kher who made sure I got into the car. It was crazy. As a female artiste, you know the feeling of being vulnerable in front of a crowd, which is why I connected with my character Anaarkali. You know that when we were shooting the Holi scene in Ranjhanaa, the production has put five boys from the AD team around us in that get-up, to protect us from the rest of the crowd.”
When asked if she had hit someone who tried to harass her in any way, she said, “Yes, lots of times! The first time, I slapped a guy for pinching me in Old Delhi. There used to be a Sunday book bazaar there, so I caught hold of the guy. These people don’t expect women to react which is why it’s all the more important for women to react. Because the whole mentality of a molester, groper and an eve-teaser is the anonymity and the confidence that the girl won’t react. The moment you instill that fear in their head that the girl may react and she can beat the s**t out of them, they tend to stay away. I have hit people in Delhi, Chennai and sometimes, I have chased people.”
Further speaking about an incident she faced while travelling in Mumbai, she recalled, “I have beaten someone with my umbrella in Mumbai. I was in a train alone — this was my first year in Mumbai — going somewhere to collect a cheque. I was in the first-class compartment and it was in the late afternoon so it was empty. A drug addict got in and when I turned around, I see this man masturbating. For one second, I was scared. It took me a second to realise what was going on, I started yelling at him, and beating him with the umbrella. I tried to catch hold of his collar because I knew the moment the train stops, he will run. I knew I can get him to the police if I hold him back. But the moment the train slowed down, he realised I was holding him to get him to the police, and he jumped off from the other end of the compartment.”
Further, she spoke about how women refrain from reporting such serious incidences fearing guilt, shame and dishonor.