After several supporting roles, Swara Bhaskar has an award-winning movie and a bold experiment coming up
SWARA BHASKAR has played supporting roles in more than a dozen movies in the last six years and is all set for her big break this year. In fact, Nil Battey Sannata, which covered the festival circuit last year and won Bhaskar the best actress award at the Silk Road film Festival in China, is scheduled to release here in April. It sees her playing the mother of a 15-year-old. “Nil Battey Sannata is a powerful story and I was sure it would be extremely challenging. I took a big risk with the age difference and it paid off,” she begins.
Writing her script
Bhaskar has been making all the right moves ever since she shifted from Delhi to Mumbai to become an actor. You will remember her from mainstream Bollywood movies like Tanu Weds Manu, Guzarish, Raanjhanaa and the recent Salman Khan-starrer, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. “Thankfully, my journey has not been too easy or too difficult, and being part of commercial cinema has helped me get noticed by the industry and secure worthy projects,” she observes.
One of them is Anaarakali Araawaali, where she plays a feisty orchestra party singer who performs lewd, sexually-charged songs at public functions in the city of Arrah, Bihar. “I have always played goody-goody roles but in Araawaali, I had the chance to explore the dark sexuality of a daring rural woman in a highly volatile environment,” she explains. Incidentally, there is more to her than her acting chops, for the actress writes screenplays and recently won a Fellowship at Asia Society India Centre for her script, Split Ends. Bhaskar also finds time to actively support social causes and is part of the Swaang music band, which creates protest songs on issues like women safety and armchair activism.Calling herself an unapologetic feminist but prefers to keep her real and reel life independent of eachother
Best of both
She recalls how she was a rank outsider with few contacts but big dreams when she moved to Mumbai. “It is difficult to get good opportunities and I have often wondered how audacious I was to say ‘no’ to many projects”. Bhasker now swings comfortably between mainstream commercial blockbusters and independent alternative films. Content with her progress, she is looking forward to the response to Nil Battey Sannata. After all, a lot went into Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s film, with the director referring to how Bhaskar spent time in Agra to study the culture and put on several kilos to play the mother.
— Rahul Dev