In Veere Di Wedding, the gender is incidental; mainstream Bollywood is changing, says Swara Bhasker
For someone who has done two back-to-back hard hitting films like Nil Battey Sannata and Anaarkali Of Aarah and is known for her unconventional choice in films, casting Swara Bhasker to play one of the 'Veeres' was the first choice in Veere Di Wedding, but for Swara, who was never the quintessential glam doll, it was outside her comfort zone.
“That’s because I am not used to a certain kind of styling and certain kind of clothing. I have always viewed costumes as being incidental to the character. But for Veere, I was told to pay attention to how I look. So I had to lose weight, take care of skin, do make-up, and I kept feeling that I am thinking more about how I am looking rather than how I am acting. I was very uncomfortable in that state of being.”
“But”, she further said, “this is also a kind of performance and I had to take on this challenge so I have to view all that hair and make-up look as character preparation. Now let’s hope that I live up to it because to be able to look glamorous in a film that also has Kareena Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor in it is quite a challenge,” “I was excited about doing Veere because it was a new sort of role for me. Every time you do a film where you are doing something you have never done before, there is an opportunity for growth,” says the actress.
In comparison to the other actors, Swara has been far more vociferous about how Veere is an important film in the commercial, star-driven mainstream space in more ways than one. “Veere is doing something new and brave in Bollywood. It is the first time in 105 years of the history of mainstream cinema that we have shown four women who are friends and who are not falling in love with the same guy. That is liberating. For instance, in Dil Chahta Hai and the other films on male bonding that followed up, filmmakers have been able to give male characters not one or two but so many stories of friendships, whereas whenever you have told a story through girls it is always about two women falling in love with the same man, like for instance, Dil Toh Paagal Hai, or Kal Ho Na Ho, or Har Dil Jo Pyaar Karega," she says.
"Then, every time there is a film that has women at the centre of it, or headlining it, there is one major social issue, there is always these dark stories of injustice. But it is the first time that a film will show the lives of four women where nobody gets raped, nobody is murdered, no injustice is done. I come from that cinema and I respect that cinema but isn’t it liberating that you can have a film in which nothing horrible happens to women? They are just leading a normal life and I think that is liberating. It is liberating that we have four women who speak the way we speak and we think. We have tried as much to censor ourselves which is again liberating,” says Swara.
In recent times, there have been examples of films like Angry Indian Goddesses and Parched but Swara argues saying that these films have come from the independent space. “In Angry Indian Goddesses each girl was dealing with a social issue. But in Veere they are just leading normal lives which you will find liberating. Also, Parched and Angry Indian Goddesses were conscious about the fact that they were films about women. Similarly, Anarkali of Arrah was a film with a social agenda. In that sense, Veere Di Wedding is a film where the gender is incidental. And then we also have Kareena — a commercial film star who is part of this script. Mainstream Bollywood is definitely changing,” says Swara.
Since Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had asked the Veere makers to ‘tone down’ cuss words which was eventually beeped out despite the film been certified ‘A’, Swara wonders why is there discrimination about who can and cannot swear.
“We were going ballistic when it came to the language because there is a certain vocabulary of the young urban working youth. Also, these girls are talking about their personal lives in an unguarded way. But people are surprised because A-list heroines are saying these cuss words. No one has a problem when female characters in Anurag Kashyap’s films use swear words but somehow when girls in mainstream movies swear, everyone is very upset. When I did Anaarkali nobody had a problem because somewhere in your perception she is a fallen woman, she is lose, promiscuous, bad character woman and that she will behave like this only, but when it is mainstream heroines like Kareena and Sonam who have a history of doing good girl roles, you suddenly start feeling threatened if they use cuss words. It is a little hypocritical and it is certainly a case of misplaced morality. I can think of far worse things happening in our society that we should be upset about,” says Swara, who enjoyed working with almost an all-women team of Veere.
"It was fantastic working with Kareena, Sonam, Shikha and all the girls, including Rhea (Kapoor, producer), Ekta (Kapoor, producer). Everyone is powerful and amazing, they are secure in their talent and craft and capable of having great fun. They are also capable of making friends with other girls which is great."
But there is just one query that irks her the most, which is: 'Was there any cat-fight on the sets?' "Cat-fights is like, 'Oh girls can’t drive'. I treat it in the same way. It is such a sad thought," winds up Swara.
Updated Date: Jun 03, 2018 13:57 PM