As the voting for the 2019 general elections comes to an end today, a Times of India interview of armchair activist doubling up as an actor Swara Bhasker revealed that she bought 20 new sarees for campaigning in multiple political rallies. Bhasker, who lent her support to six politicians across political parties making it a cocktail of ideologies, added that she has also lost 4 brand endorsement deals after she campaigned for CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar.
Kanhaiya Kumar, the member of the infamous ‘Tukde Tukde Gang’ is currently on bail for allegedly chanting anti-national slogans at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi in 2016. The Delhi Police Special Cell had submitted 1200-page charge-sheet in January this year against Kanhaiya Kumar and other left-wing students of the JNU.
Swara admits that she was being called for campaigning because of her being an actor. Hence to maintain a certain image, she curated her look and purchased 20 new sarees and jewellery to ‘talk about issues that matter’. She says, “I knew that people were calling me because I am a heroine. As soon as I learnt that I would be campaigning, I went and bought 20 saris and got my wardrobe sorted. Maine blouse silva liye, jewellery leli and curated my look. I used to blow dry my hair in the morning, put on my hair extensions and makeup, and wear my chunky earrings. I knew that the media would come for pictures and interviews, which in turn could be used as a platform to talk about issues that matter.”
In what can be considered a confession of how the film industry is also politicised, she said, “The industry is already politicised. You can see in terms of the appointments that are made, whether it is the FTII, the nature and composition of our censor board, or the way national awards are given. Every government puts its set of people in place.”
Swara’s mother Ira Bhaskar, a professor of cinema studies at JNU, was a Censor Board member during the UPA government and had quit in January 2015 after CBFC chairperson Leena Samson resigned in January 2015. She was also accused of being a Congress stooge when she quit.
Swara then mentions how she is considered a ‘thinking actor’ and hence she could lend her ‘credibility’ to the candidates and make their case stronger. She then mentions how her masturbation scene from the film Veere Di Wedding was dragged into political campaign. She said it was crass sexism and she was ‘little stung’ by it. Ironically, Swara, amongst other politicians, also extended her support to Congress leader Divijaya Singh, Lok Sabha candidate for Bhopal Lok Sabha seat who had once referred to his own colleague as ‘sau taka tunch maal‘ (a sexist slur which means ‘desirable object’).
Hypocrisy just reached a pathbreaking level.
Meanwhile, Swara has not completely written off joining politics as a backup career option a few years down the line.