Swara Bhaskar who is currently shooting with Kareena Kapoor Khan and Sonam Kapoor for Veere Di Wedding made shocking revelations in an interview with a leading daily. Swara spoke about how a director harassed her when she was new in Bollywood.
In an interview to Mumbai Mirror, the Bollywood actor voiced her opinion on the matter too. “The way a film set operates is often feudal and always hierarchal, where some people give instructions and others execute them…Conditions at the workplace are ripe for sexual harassment, more so because victims can be easily silenced,” she said.
When asked whether she too faced a similar situation at work place, Swara told the leading daily, “Of course. I’ve been propositioned by men who were in a position to cast me. I lost a few roles because I didn’t give in. It made me vulnerable, nervous. Some people even stopped responding to my messages because they knew I would not give in. Being an articulate, educated girl they sensed that I would not take things lying down.
There have been catcalls during shoots and eve-teasing on one of my sets. I’ve been groped by a mob during promotions and during a 56-day outdoor at a remote location, when I was still fairly new, the director harassed me with texts and dinner invites. He stalked me during the day and called me through the night. I was asked to go to his hotel room on the pretext of discussing the scene and would find him drinking. During the first week itself, he started talking about love and sex and one night, arrived in my room, drunk, and asked to be hugged. It was scary!
I was young and alone. I would switch off the lights after pack-up and remove my make up in the dark so he would think I was asleep and stop calling me.”
The director did stop after she told him how uncomfortable he was making her feel, and that she would leave the project if he continued to misbehave with her. While the man did stop stalking her for a time (not without acting hurt and complaining about “how she misunderstood him”, though), he was back at it after a few weeks. “I finally confided in the executive producer and made sure that I was escorted everywhere,” she said.
According to Swara, the best way to ‘deal with harassment’ at the workplace is to “lose the part but don’t get on the couch”. “It’s not a feminist choice, and it’s certainly not a liberating choice. It’s like giving a bribe, and that amounts to succumbing to a wrong,” she said.
Swara is currently shooting for her upcoming film Veere Di Wedding with Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor and Shikha Talsania. The film releases in May 2018.
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