“I Was Re­ally Se­duced By The In­ti­macy Of The Cam­era As A Form.”

The vi­va­cious SWARA BHASKER has made her mark in B-Town through back- to-back power packed per­for­mances. In con­ver­sa­tion with Rhea Ka­pa­dia, she opens up about her jour­ney and how much she cher­ishes be­ing in this pro­fes­sion.

Stardust (English) - - COVER STORY -

Did you al­ways want to be­come an ac­tor? Well, I don’t know about al­ways but the thing is that we are a cin­ema watch­ing na­tion. As a child I was com­pletely ob­sessed with Chi­tra­haar and Su­per­hit Muqabla be­cause my fa­ther and mother didn’t al­low us to have cable for the long­est time and my only en­ter­tain­ment in life came from Chi­tra­haar and Su­per­hit Muqabla. This was when I was eight or nine years old. I think my fas­ci­na­tion for films started from that and of course, I for­got about it as I grew up. But when I was in col­lege, I again had the de­sire to be on the sil­ver screen. I think cin­ema is a very in­ti­mate medium. The cam­era comes very close to the ac­tor’s body so even if you change the way you breathe, it is regis­tered on cam­era and I was re­ally se­duced by the in­ti­macy of the cam­era as a form. So I think that’s why I was very in­ter­ested in be­ing an ac­tor. So just like ev­ery­body I also landed up in Bom­bay by the Mum­bai Ra­jd­hani that brought me from Delhi to Bom­bay. So you know how that shot in films, the typ­i­cal shot where gaon se aake log apna boriya bis­traa lekar po­hoch rahe hai. I also landed like that in the mid­dle of a sea of taxis that you see at CST. You’ve been ver­sa­tile with scripts in your ca­reer and the roles played by you in Anaarkali ofAarah and VeereDiWed­ding have been quite bold. Did you have any in­hi­bi­tions? There is al­ways an in­hi­bi­tion be­cause you don’t want your work or your per­for­mance to be

mis­un­der­stood in any way so ev­ery time you do some­thing new or take a risk, and I have done that a lot in my ca­reer, you want your work to be ap­pre­ci­ated if noth­ing else, at least in the right spirit. I was a lit­tle ner­vous but I think that if you re­ally be­lieve in the script and you trust your di­rec­tor, pro­duc­ers and your mak­ers then hon­estly, that takes care of things. And in this case I re­ally trusted the script, my writ­ers Nidhi and Me­hul, my di­rec­tor Shashanka Ghosh and I trusted Rhea Kapoor. I was like, let’s do this. Of course there was this anx­i­ety be­fore do­ing “that” (mas­tur­bat­ing) scene be­cause as I said I didn’t want it be mis­in­ter­preted in any way. So on the whole it was a mat­ter of trust.

How was it on the sets of Veere DiWed­ding?

It was a ball! It was great fun with Sonam, Ka­reena, Rhea, Shikha and Shashanka, they are all fun peo­ple. So there was re­ally a gen­uine spirit of friend­ship and fun and ul­ti­mately, that re­flected in the film. As the movie had four women in the lead, was the vibe on the set dif­fer­ent? It was great fun. I think there was a more re­laxed vibe. There was a lot of talk about food. Ka­reena, Sonam, Shikha and Rhea they are all food­ies and I was sup­posed to be on a diet. I was re­ally tor­tured by the con­stant con­ver­sa­tion about food. I was just like, ‘oh God kya ho raha hai! Main kaise apne diet ko rakhu?’

Any anec­dote from the sets that you’d like to share?

Ka­reena al­ways teased me by calling me ‘a think­ing ac­tor’ and she even­tu­ally kept my name ‘Masaan ki think­ing ac­tor’ and I kept telling her that I was not even from Masaan.

Most of your roles, apart from Sak­shi Soni in Veere DiWed­ding haven’t been glam­orous? Has it ever both­ered you?

No, it hasn’t. It is not my pri­mary job as an ac­tor to be glam­orous. A place where glam­our is the pri­mary need and ne­ces­sity is the ramp and I am not a ramp model. I think my pri­mary job is to ser­vice my role. I think I have al­ways done that to the best of my abil­i­ties. I think Anaarkali was a desi glam­orous kind of char­ac­ter but it’s nice that in Veere Di Wed­ding, I got a chance to show­case this other side to my per­for­mance or my ta­lent. A chance to show that I am not lim­ited to gritty, re­al­is­tic or rus­tic roles and I can also look glam­orous if the need arises.

Tell us about your per­sonal style. Is it Indo-western as in TanuWed­sManu or very bold and High Street like in VeereDi Wed­ding?

Very Bo­hemian.

You are very ac­tive on your so­cial me­dia han­dles like In­sta­gram and Twit­ter. How do you man­age this along with shoots and other pub­lic ap­pear­ances? You know what I’m do­ing while I am wait­ing be­tween shots. I’m send­ing a tweet! It has been a slow and steady jour­ney for you. Did you ever think of giv­ing up ever? Yeah, of course I did. I don’t think you can be­come a per­former with­out hav­ing your fair share of anx­i­ety and in­se­cu­rity. There have been times where I was very de­pressed and hope­less and times when I had thought of go­ing back. This phase of mine was very much there dur­ing Tanu Weds Manu and Raan­jhanaa. But the funny thing that hap­pened in my case was that when­ever I was at my low­est point, I would get a new project that made me stay back. I feel my story is as com­mon as every­one else’s. So in the end, I feel that we all should feel happy and blessed for what we have. Given that you have worked in both big bud­get com­mer­cial films as well as artis­tic con­tent cin­ema, do you think that the au­di­ence is more ap­pre­cia­tive of the lat­ter? I think that the au­di­ence is def­i­nitely chang­ing and that is pre­cisely why the cin­ema is chang­ing. With so­cial me­dia like Twit­ter, In­sta­gram, every­one is a critic. Ev­ery­body is writ­ing a re­view and giv­ing stars. So now di­rec­tors, pro­duc­ers and ac­tors

With Twit­ter and In­sta­gram, every­one is a critic.”

You have to be a lit­tle dheet or have a moti chamdi about your work and per­for­mances.”

can­not shy away from what the au­di­ence is say­ing. You can­not live in that bub­ble of yours where two peo­ple in your group are say­ing ‘wow great’. Crit­i­cal ac­claim has be­come a thing that af­fects Box of­fice and has got­ten con­tent cin­ema to achieve that spurt. So if you think of last year, I mean a film like New­ton made so much money at the Box of­fice. Also a film like Veere Di Wed­ding is break­ing a lot of grounds in terms of what is ac­cept­able and what is not, and peo­ple just love it.

How do you deal with re­jec­tion and crit­i­cism?

I think the first thing as an ac­tor that you have to do is deal with re­jec­tion. The larger part of your ca­reer is go­ing to be get­ting re­jected from roles. You will al­ways be re­jected in more roles than you will be ac­cepted. So I think the only way to deal with re­jec­tion is to have a re­ally strong stom­ach for it. You have to be a lit­tle ‘ dheet, or have a moti chamdi’ about your work and per­for­mances. Also you must have more faith in your dreams and your am­bi­tions. If the crit­i­cism is con­struc­tive, I feel that it’s com­ing from a right place. Peo­ple have called me a B grade ac­tor. This is the kind of crit­i­cism I don’t take se­ri­ously be­cause it’s not com­ing from a con­struc­tive place, it’s com­ing from a de­struc­tive place. Some peo­ple take trolling also as crit­i­cism. I don’t.

What has been the best com­pli­ment that you’ve re­ceived through­out your ca­reer?

A lot of peo­ple have said a lot of nice things about me. Re­cently I had been to Hong Kong for the

screen­ing at a film fes­ti­val for Nil Bat­tey San­nata. There was this Philip­pine lady who works as a maid in Hong Kong. She came up to me af­ter the movie cry­ing. She was a sin­gle mother with a daugh­ter who was 14 years old. And she told me, “Thank you for telling out the story of my life’’and she hugged me and did not let me go and told me that I was her hero. It was so mov­ing that I told her that she was my hero be­cause it’s the peo­ple like her that such movies are in­spired from. So it felt re­ally nice that my work is con­nected to some­body who doesn’t speak the lan­guage of my film, who doesn’t be­long from the same coun­try and cul­ture. More re­cently a lot of praise has come for Veere Di Wed­ding. This was very spe­cial to me be­cause I was very ner­vous about this film. So ev­ery time some­body says some­thing nice about it, I cher­ish and value those words of ap­pre­ci­a­tion be­cause I didn’t think I’d be able to pull off this role. Could you tell us about your fu­ture ven­tures? Well, af­ter Veere Di Wed­ding I haven’t signed any film as yet be­cause I want to take my time. Af­ter Nil Bat­tey, Anaarkali and Veere Di Wed­ding I don’t know what I should say ‘yes’ to. I need to find that role and script that matches up to my per­for­mances in these films. I have two web­series com­ing up which are also very in­ter­est­ing. One is for Ap­plause En­ter­tain­ment called Ras­b­hari and the other is It’s Not That Sim­ple for Voot. So I think dig­i­tal space is a very in­ter­est­ing space that is of­fer­ing a lot of ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for ac­tors and I re­ally en­joyed my in­ter­ac­tion with that space. So I am quite ex­cited for that as well. Lastly, how has your jour­ney been from Guzaar­ish to VeereDi Wed­ding? Ha­haha…very whole­some I think. It’s been eight years long since then. I feel very lucky, very blessed to have seen the whole spec­trum of that, the ex­pe­ri­ence of what an ac­tor’s life can be. From be­ing new and young and strug­gling to fi­nally feel­ing that you have made a small space for your­self feels great. I think I re­ally cher­ish my work be­cause for any ac­tor who re­mem­bers how it feels to not have work, it’s like you are pretty much thank­ing your stars ev­ery day. And the nicest thing that I have heard from peo­ple, es­pe­cially young girls is that I am such a role model for them that they see some part of them­selves in me is what I cher­ish most con­sid­er­ing now I have achieved that lit­tle recog­ni­tion.

From be­ing new, young and strug­gling to fi­nally feel­ing that you have made a small space for your­self, feels great.”

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