“No end to this controversy”
After long clashes, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Padmaavat’ finally made it to the big screens on 25th January 2018. But, the controversies swear not to leave Bhansali’s hand.
Recently, Bollywood actress Swara Bhaskar came up with the strange and brutal open letter, as she blasted on Bhansali for ‘glorifying Jauhar’.
In an open letter to Bhansali, Swara wrote:
Dear Mr. Bhansali,
“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.
It’s actually pretty basic. 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 its 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.
Desirous of Life
Swara felt like a vagina and vagina only and she never afraid to share her opinion:
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.
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?
Swara also posed questions asking, “Sir, you will say to me that I am over-reacting and that I must see the film in its context”
“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?”
She said about the climax of Padmavat:
I felt very uncomfortable watching your climax, watching that pregnant woman and little girl walk into the fire. I felt my existence was illegitimate because God forbid anything untoward happened to me, I would do everything in my power to sneak out of that fiery pit– even if that meant being enslaved to a monster like Khilji forever. I felt in that moment that it was wrong of me to choose life over death. It was wrong to have the desire to live.”
Well, Shahid Kapoor, one of the actors of the film who played the role of Padmaavat’s Maharawal Ratan Singh said:
“YES, I HAVE COME TO KNOW THAT SWARA HAS WRITTEN A LETTER, BUT HONESTLY, I HAVE NOT YET READ IT YET, THE LETTER IS QUITE LONG AND WE ARE ALL REALLY BUSY. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT HER ISSUE IS, MAYBE WHATEVER ISSUE SHE HAS IS WITH SANJAY SIR.”
He felt somewhat “awkward”
“I WOULD SAY THAT THIS TIME IS NOT FOR SUCH THINGS, PADMAAVAT HAS BEEN REPRESENTING THE WHOLE FILM INDUSTRY. IT IS ALSO REPRESENTING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH. IT HAS BEEN REALLY DIFFICULT TO MAKE THIS FILM REACH THE AUDIENCE.”
Read her entire letter here.
Thanks for reading this and have a happy sharing because sharing is caring.