Actress Swara Bhasker talks about how the law that swears to protect the people in turn creates trouble for them because of their lack of awareness. By Chahak Mittal
Did you know that a woman can’t be arrested after six in the evening and if she is being taken into the police custody after that, there has to be a woman guard around her all the time till she’s there. Well, actress Swara Bhasker came to know the fact recently.
There are laws that lay down the substantive rights of the masses, pertaining to the benefits of the people. However, due to lack of proper awareness, such provisions hardly yield any justice, highlights Swara as she speaks about the forthcoming drama on Colors, Courtroom.
She says, “There are numerous laws which people don’t know about but should be aware of. The show will make these legal procedures and important laws accessible to people in an interesting way.” It is because none will ever specifically open a book to read about laws, else they would have been lawyers.
She says that there’s a fear that grips people when they first hear of court and legal procedures. “They always want to avoid them. They start thinking about the high court and repeated visits to the lower ones for case proceedings, feeling that the next 25 years of their lives might just get wasted doing this. Pendency is a great issue in our country. But that is also because common people hardly know the exact court procedures and the way law works in the country,” says Swara. She highlights that it’s interesting “how law is made for people’s protection and that in turn puts them into trouble.”
The actress says that when she got to know about the show, she found it very “interesting” even though she is not a part of it, she wanted to support it.
The Anarkali of Aarah actress believes that it’s important for our society to question the right and wrong of things. She says, “In our country most people act without thinking. We are just reacting to things. Such shows are important for them to know, think, question and act accordingly.”
There have been shows like Crime Patrol, Savdhaan India, that have showed numerous real-life cases of crime against humanity and alerted the society. Swara believes that such shows are capable of analysing fear as well as tracing the criminal mindset.
She says, “It depends on the way a particular crime is portrayed. No subject in itself is good or bad.” She believes that if you choose to “fetishise” a crime or “sensationalise” it and show it in a “dhinchak way by using sensational headlines around it, it will only make it seem justified to those who have a pervert mindset. We don’t need to look at fiction for sensationalising any crime as our TV soaps and news channels are enough. Many of them report on such heinous events in an irresponsible manner.”
Giving an example, she talks about the film Talvar, a repertory on Arushi-Hemraj murder case of 2008. She exclaims, “There’s a difference in the way the film shows the case as compared to some TV shows that have tried to show the same case in a sensational manner. No subject in itself is good or bad. It’s important for people who create fiction to show a crime in a sensitive manner that makes people also delve deeper into it seriously and as something that is unjustified.”
Adding on to that, she says that showing a rape or molestation of a woman that objectifies their body and fetishises the violence in a perverse manner “can only make the crime appear pleasurable and justified to some people. It’s all a game of perception.”
Even though the actress has been trolled by multiple accounts, she continues to be very active on social media when it comes to raising concerns over crimes against women. She says that she doesn’t believe in making social media as a courtroom of justice just like it increasingly is becoming one.
“Social media has become a court in itself and I am very much against this idea. You can’t replace the judiciary with mob lynchings, virtual trails or any kind of revolution on Twitter. It’s for connecting and socialising and spreading views, not for making a jury out of it,” says she.
Recalling the Mumbai attacks of 26/11, she says that when Kasab had been caught, “there was an anger and josh among people to kill him by hanging him on the streets. Such a dangerous thing to do and ask for! There was mob violence all around. Indeed he was terrorist and had to be punished. But not in this way.”
She goes on to add, “We have to be very careful when we talk about justice. We can’t turn into inhuman carnivores or devils in order to get justice. Hence, there’s a court and a room of people who have read about the Constitution and law to give justice to us. They know the way and are much qualified, trained and smarter than us common people to take law in their hands. Let it happen the rational way.”
Swara, who was trolled incessantly for her masturbation scene in her film Veere Di Wedding, says that she doesn’t regret doing or saying anything that she does, especially on social media. “I don’t ever regret it. I don’t feel the need to. When you are under the public eye, you have to have a thick skin and be firm on whatever you say. People will always dig something out of it. This doesn’t mean you stay quiet against the wrong.”
Talking about challenging patriarchy at home, she says that it will be done only when we start speaking up. It is something that equally affects the boys as it does to the girls. “The first step to challenging it is to say something against it and stop it. If someday a girl is tired or has an injury and she has to serve tea to her father, why does not the son do it in that case? Why only the daughter? If the child comes back at 3 ‘o’ clock in the night, the mother will wake up to ask about serving food for him/her. Why?”
Hence, it “begins” with such basic habits, she says, adding that “fighting for it is a later scenario, the first thing is to learn how to recognise it.”
Talking about her previous opening on sexual harassment at the workplace, she says that women don’t know what is happening to them. “When I shared about the incident, I realised that just because the harasser never touched me, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t harassment. I managed to save myself. I realised at that time it didn’t feel like harassment to me because of a lack of awareness. To recognise, we need to break the silence and start conversations.”
She says that women have been raising their voices since time immemorial but it’s only now that our ears have risen to hear them out. “The Vishakha case is an example and it was in the late 1990s. We are fighting for the same thing even today — sexual harassment at workplace. It’s been three decades since,” says Swara.
Talking about the #MeToo movement, she says that we are looking at the movement in just one way — how many women have come and spoken against their harassers.
But she feels we shouldn’t judge the campaign only on that basis. “We should look at it as a cathartic movement which is breaking a silence and teaching to recognise the wrong. It is also about accepting and recognising that this happened to me years ago and today I have the courage to speak up against it. People through this, could realise that a certain person wasn’t just a stupid or insane man, rather he was a predator,” she says.
Thursday, 07 February 2019 | Chahak Mittal | in Vivacity