Swara Bhaskar on sexual harassment: 'We are all guilty of being in the know and staying silent'
Swara Bhaskar has established herself as a promising actor in Bollywood, primarily on the basis of her performances. Starting off with side roles in films like Tanu Weds Manu, Raanjhanaa, Tanu Weds Manu Returns, she escalated her position as a lead actress and delivered stellar performances in films like Nil Battey Sannata and Anaarkali of Aarah.
Being a complete outsider in the star-studded film industry, Bhaskar speaks about her experiences with the casting couch, sexual harassment and instances of sexual misconduct during film shoots.
Speaking to Mumbai Mirror, Bhaskar said that sexual harassment is a global phenomenon. "Sexual harassment, fundamentally, is about power or rather the misuse of power. The way a film set operates is often feudal and always hierarchical, where some people give instructions and others execute them. It is an uncertain place ruled by fortune, the cruel seductress, populated with a crowd of forever anxious ambitious dreamers and hustling freelancers. If you succeed, money, glory and power is yours. If you fail, the world falls apart. Conditions at the workplace are ripe for sexual harassment, more so because victims can be easily silenced."
Her statements become more prominent in the wake of numerous sexual harassment and assault reports filed against some of the biggest names in Hollywood ranging from the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein to Academy Award winning actors Dustin Hoffman and Kevin Spacey.
She also talks about her personal experiences which went from being uncomfortable to scary. "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. When I was still fairly new, a 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!" says Bhaskar, as per the same report.
Bhaskar advises women to not be silent and speak up. "We need to stop slut-shaming and ask for a collective platform to deal with this issue. We are all guilty of being in the know and remaining silent. And that is complicity," reports Mirror.
Updated Date: Nov 07, 2017 16:16 PM