Actress Swara Bhaskar says it's time Bollywood should be a little more responsible in terms of representing a social or political issue in films. She was speaking at the India Film Project, where she launched the poster of her upcoming film Sheer Qorma.
In a conversation, along with her Sheer Qorma co-actor Divya Dutta and director Faraz Arif Ansari, Bhasker said Bollywood has a huge responsibility towards what they inject in the society as popular culture.
"I think it's time that mainstream Bollywood and other language industries begin to be a little sensitive and responsible in how they represent the issues. Just because an experience is not my own doesn't mean it's not legitimate. And, this is true for religious identity, caste identity as well as gender identity," said Bhasker.
"On so many levels, we all must be privileged in our own way. But if a minority community is saying that there's intolerance in the society then listen to it, you may not have felt it because you're not from minority community. If a Dalit is saying, 'I feel scared that I will be lynched,' listen to him. Just because it hasn't happened to you doesn't mean it hasn't happened to someone else. If Queer people say, 'We feel discriminated against and we don't belong,' listen to it," Bhasker added.
Sheer Qorma will see Bhasker and Dutta in the role of a lesbian couple. The film also features Shabana Azmi.
Talking about the evolving portrayals of women on screen, Bhasker said, "Films like Tanu Weds Manu, Jab We Met finally showed that it's okay for a heroine to be wild and confused and still not be a bad girl."
Bhasker has never shied away from voicing her opinions, something which has often landed her in trouble.
She said, "As public figures, you're more vulnerable to a lot of destructive negativity. If we want our public figures, people with legacies, to speak out and take responsible sides, then we have to become the society which doesn't punish people for doing that."
"I lost four brands the day I campaigned for candidates for Lok Sabha elections, lost three events. The hit that my work took at the end of that experience—I am not saying, 'Oh, I am so great'-- but if you're going to make the stakes so high, that a superstar can talk about a dinner conversation and then face so much flak or another superstar can give his opinion and his car can be stoned on a shoot, then how can we expect people with legacies or public profiles to actually risk their lives, families, careers? Why should they? We need to ask ourselves questions as a society."
The Lok Sabha elections 2019 saw Swara campaigning for Kanhaiya Kumar in Begusarai, AAP candidates Atishi Marlena and Raghav Chadha in Delhi and CPM's candidate Amra Ram.
Follow @News18Movies for more