A huge controversy has erupted over a work of ‘fiction’. Karni Sena has been protesting against the release of ‘Padmaavat’ and the agitations created a havoc nationwide. Despite all the chaos, the Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor-starrer managed to reach the audience. After the release, the epic film was showered with praises by the film faternity as well as the audience. The B-town celebs shares their views and wished the cast on the film’s success. On Saturday, the Nil Baatey Sannata actress Swara Bhaskar let her voice and opinion about the film heard through a open letter published by The Wire. The unconventional actress has a different take on how the story of Padmaavat goes on.
Swara Bhaskar talked highly of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s work and appreciated the deep performance of the actors. However, Swara slammed the climax of the magnum opus for glorifying ‘jauhar’ in the 21st century. Here are some highlights from her open letter to Sanjay Leela Bhansali:
At the outset Sir, congratulations on finally being able to release your magnum opus ‘Padmaavat’ – minus the ‘i’, minus the gorgeous Deepika Padukone’s uncovered slender waist, minus 70 shots you apparently had to cut out.. but heyyyy! You managed to have it released with everyone’s heads still on their shoulders and noses still intact.
Perhaps it is because of this attachment and concern that I had for the film that I am SO stunned having watched it. And perhaps that is why I take the liberty and have the temerity to write to you. I will try and be concise and direct though there is much to say.
Women have the right to live, despite being raped sir.
Women have the right to live, despite the death of their husbands, male ‘protectors’, ‘owners’, ‘controllers of their sexuality’.. whatever you understand the men to be.
Women have the right to live — independent of whether men are living or not.
Women have the right to live. Period.
The outspoken actress jotted done few points and very powerfully convey them. Sawar Bhasker who has worked in Sawaariya with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, did not shy away from uprightly bringing out the fact that women are actually see just with the following perception in mind.
Some more basic points:
- Women are not only walking talking vaginas.
- Yes, women have vaginas, but they have more to them as well. So their whole life need not be focused on the vagina, and controlling it, protecting it, maintaining it’s purity. (Maybe in the 13th century that was the case, but in the 21st century we do not need to subscribe to these limiting ideas. We certainly do not need to glorify them. )
- It would be nice if the vaginas are respected; but in the unfortunate case that they are not, a woman can continue to live. She need not be punished with death, because another person disrespected her vagina without her consent.
- There is life outside the vagina, and so there can be life after rape. (I know I repeat, but this point can never be stressed enough.)
- In general there is more to life than the vagina.
- You may be wondering why the hell I am going on and on thus about vaginas. Because Sir, that’s what I felt like at the end of your magnum opus. I felt like a vagina. I felt reduced to a vagina–only.
We were back to the basic question — of right to life. Your film, it felt, had brought us back to that question from the Dark Ages – do women – widowed, raped, young, old, pregnant, pre-pubescent… do they have the right to live?
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.
The context of art, any art is the time and place when it was created and consumed. And that’s why this gang-rape infested India, this rape condoning mindset, this victim blaming society is the actual context of your film, Sir. Surely in this context, you could have offered some sort of a critique of Sati and Jauhar in your film?
Swara Bhaskar bluntly voiced her opinion through this letter and it will shook you. If we consider everything she said we will end up questioning a woman’s existence in the society.