Actress Swara Bhaskar wrote an open letter calling out at Sanjay Leela Bhansali for glorifying Sati and Jauhar. The Veere Di Wedding actress wrote a letter in The Wire after watching Deepika Padukone-starrer film. However, some people from her own fraternity in turn, slammed her and dismissed her letter as a ‘feminist debate’.
Swara believes "Padmaavat" has brought up the question whether women -- widowed, raped, young, old, pregnant, pre-pubescent -- have the right to live. In an open letter published on The Wire late on Saturday, Swara has decried glorification of self-immolation customs Sati and Jauhar.
"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.
"I felt like all the 'minor' achievements that women and women's movements have made over the years - like the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to education, equal pay for equal work, maternity leave, the Vishakha judgment, the right to adopt children... All of it was pointless; because we were back to basics.
I loved the performances by all the actors in #Padmaavat - The film is seductive in its grandeur, scale, beauty, power of its actors’s performances, music, design, vision... and therein lies the problem! Some thoughts.. sorry abt the length 🙈🙈🙈https://t.co/0hYnvlAvAD— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) January 27, 2018
"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?" Swara wrote.
She stressed: "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," she wrote, referring to the "very uncomfortable" climax scene in which actress Deepika Padukone (Rani Padmavati in "Padmaavat") leads a pack of women to commit self-immolation after attackers venture into their kingdom and kill the men.
"Women are not only walking talking vaginas. Yes, women have vaginas, but they have more to them as well."
Her lengthy post did not resonate well with actress-singer Suchitra Krishnamoorthi, who tweeted: "Aren't these feminist debates on 'Padmaavat' rather dumb? It's a story ladies - not an advocacy of Jauhar for God's sake. Find another battle for your cause - a real one at all. Not historical fiction."
Arent these feminist debates on #Padmaavat rather dumb?. Its a story ladies - not an advocacy of Jauhar for gods sake. Find another battle for ur cause- a real one at all. Not historical fiction— Suchitra Krishnamoorthi (@suchitrak) January 28, 2018
Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit wrote: "This is nothing but trying to grab eyeballs with zero rationale and logic. Swara Bhasker has reduced a queen of brain and might to just a female body part. Does more harm to feminism than good."
Now that @ReallySwara has become an expert in advising a filmmaker #SanjayLeelaBhansali, all our directors & writers should take lectures from her, while the major institutes like #FTII & #WhistlingWoods should shut down.— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) January 28, 2018
Is @ReallySwara angry with #SanjayLeelaBhansali, just because he gave her a smaller role in #Guzaarish? But as far as one knows she started off by playing a #sidekick to the heroines. Yeh struggle karne ka naya tareeka dhoond liya hai #JNU ki adakara ne.— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) January 28, 2018
Producer Manish Mundra commented: "Now somebody takes fiction seriously and writes open letter about a story 100s of years old. The point is if you make a film from your past, do changes suitably to reflect today's feminism.
Now somebody takes fiction seriously and writes open letter about a story 100s of years old. The point is if u make a film from your past do changes suitably to reflect today’s feminism.— Manish Mundra (@ManMundra) January 28, 2018
"Both are in same boat -- those who think a film can change their history and those who think a fictional film from past should be changed suitably to represent today's feminism."
Both are in same boat those who think a film can change their history and those who think a fictional film from past should be changed suitably to represent today’s feminism.— Manish Mundra (@ManMundra) January 28, 2018
Here are some other reactions on Swara Bhaskar’s open letter on Twitter.
Swara Bhaskar writes open letter to Sanjay Leela Bhansali, says after watching his Magnum opus she felt reduced to a Vagina only— Deepika Bhardwaj (@DeepikaBhardwaj) January 28, 2018
Well that happens when feminists start thinking from vagina than brains. Every film should now be made with feminist principles so not to offend them.
Someone tell Swara Bhaskar that Khilji reduced Padmavati and other Rajput women to mere Vaginas and not SLB..— Ekita (@LostByWaves) January 28, 2018
Padmavati is the tale of how Rajput women refused to be mere vagina..
What swara bhaskar does not understand is that rani Padmavati refused a life of humiliation and chose a death of dignity. That's also a choice women can make.— MJ (@jhameenakshi201) January 28, 2018
Almost wanted to write against Swara Bhaskar’s idiotic rant but then remembered, what’s the point?!— Be'Havin! (@WrongDoc) January 28, 2018