On Saturday, Bollywood actor Swara Bhaskar published a piece on a news website about how she felt after watching Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s new film Padmaavat. In the film, Deepika Padukone’s character Rani Padmini performs ‘jauhar’, the act of self-immolation,IANS reports.
In her write-up, Swara wrote, “Surely Sir, you agree that Sati, and Jauhar are not practices to be glorified. Surely, you agree that notwithstanding whatever archaic idea of honour, sacrifice, purity propels women and men to participate in and condone such practices; that basically Sati and Jauhar, like the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Honour Killings, are steeped in deeply patriarchal, misogynist and problematic ideas.”
She further wrote,” A mentality that believes that the worth of women lies in their vaginas, that female lives are worthless if the women are no longer controlled by male owners or if their bodies have been ‘desecrated’ by the touch of ; or even the gaze of a male who doesn’t by social sanction ‘own’ or ‘control’ the female.”
Now, singer Suchitra Krishnamoorthi has criticised Swara Bhaskar for the tone and crux of her article. The singer questioned Swara’s opinion pointing out that the actress essayed an “erotic dancer/prostitute” in films in the past.
Swara, who has been vocal about several issues and has worked with Bhansali in Guzaarish, voiced her opinion via an open letter calling out the filmmaker for glorifying Sati and Jauhar in his film and said that she felt reduced to a vagina by the end of it.
On Sunday, Suchitra tweeted: “Funny that an actress who can play an erotic dancer/prostitute with such elan should feel like a vagina after watching a story of a pious queen. What standards are these …tch tch (sic).”
Swara however wrote back to Krishnamoorthi saying, “Funny that people cannot get over the fact that a woman said Vagina! Funny that in a 2440 word article making fairly comprehensible arguments they only remember the word Vagina So… Vagina vagina vagina vagina vagina vagina..vagina vagina VAGINA!”
Before the spat between the ladies began, Krsihnamoorthi had also tweeted that “arent’ 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.”
Padmaavat released after a gruelling battle against members of fringe groups who were protesting the depiction of Rajputs in the film. The film is now being criticised by a number of activists and individuals for glorifying and making the film as a tribute to Rajput pride, perhaps even to a fault.
The film, which released on January 25, features actress Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmavati, alongside Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Sultan Alauddin Khilji. Actors Aditi Rao Hydari, Jim Sarbh, Raza Murad and Anupriya Goenka feature in supporting roles.