Every since the Harvey Weinstein controversy sparked debates among people, many actresses in Hollywood and Bollywood have finally gathered confidence to speak up on the issue of sexual harassment in the film industry. One such actor is Swara Bhaskar who is currently prepping up for her upcoming film Veere De Wedding.
On being asked about her case of sexual harassment in Bollywood, the actress revealed to a leading Indian daily, “Of course. I’ve been propositioned by men who were in a position to cast me. I lost a few roles because I didn’t give in. It made me vulnerable, nervous. Some people even stopped responding to my messages because they knew I would not give in. Being an articulate, educated girl they sensed that I would not take things lying down.”
She further went on to add her personal experience wherein she fell into prey of sexual harassment with one such director of Bollywood, Swara said, “There have been catcalls during shoots and eve-teasing on one of my sets. I’ve been groped by a mob during promotions and during a 56-day outdoor at a remote location, when I was still fairly new, the director harassed me with texts and dinner invites. He stalked me during the day and called me through the night. I was asked to go to his hotel room on the pretext of discussing the scene and would find him drinking. During the first week itself, he started talking about love and sex and one night, arrived in my room, drunk, and asked to be hugged. It was scary! I was young and alone. I would switch off the lights after pack-up and remove my make up in the dark so he would think I was asleep and stop calling me.”
Speaking about her coping mechanisms for such issues, she revealed that she had told to the director about how he made her scared and uncomfortable and that she won’t be able to do her profession if such an act continued. But, Swara was relieved from harassment for only two weeks. She said, “He acted hurt and said I had misunderstood him. He stayed away for two weeks, then he was back to his tricks. I finally confided in the executive producer and made sure that I was escorted everywhere.”
The actress concluded by stating her idea to cope with harassment, she said, “Lose the part but don’t get on the couch.”