After the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s highly-controversial Padmaavat (earlier Padmaavati) it has become largely evident that it doesn’t stain the Rajput honour, perhaps it even glorifies it to a distasteful extent, the movie raises concerns of a different kind. Citing misogynistic undertones, actress Swara Bhaskar, in an open letter to Bhansali, said that she felt reduced to a vagina after watching the movie.
In the letter released by The Wire, Swara takes up on the subject of jauhar (self-immolation of women to avoid capture) and criticised Bhansali of venerating it in the movie. The Veere Di Wedding actor first praised Bhansali for his immense contribution to film making and even mentioned that she was honoured to be directed by him for a role she had done in Guzaarish. Swara said that she fought tooth and nail for the release of Padmaavat. However, the actress did not shy away from expressing her opinions. In the letter, Swara highlighted her opinions in these points:· Women have the right to live, despite being raped sir.
· Women have the right to live, despite the death of their husbands, male ‘protectors’, ‘owners’, ‘controllers of their sexuality’. Whatever you understand the men to be.
· Women have the right to live — independent of whether men are living or not.
· Women have the right to live. Period.
It’s actually pretty basic.
Some more basic points from the letter:· Women are not only walking talking vaginas.
· Yes, women have vaginas, but they have more to them as well. So their whole life need not be focused on the vagina, and controlling it, protecting it, maintaining its purity. (Maybe in the 13th century that was the case, but in the 21st century we do not need to subscribe to these limiting ideas. We certainly do not need to glorify them. )
· It would be nice if the vaginas are respected; but in the unfortunate case that they are not, a woman can continue to live. She need not be punished with death, because another person disrespected her vagina without her consent.
· There is life outside the vagina, and so there can be life after rape. (I know I repeat, but this point can never be stressed enough.)
· In general, there is more to life than the vagina.
Bhansali’s magnum opus was under the ire of the Rajput community’s claim that it disrespected their honourable Rani Padmavati. The movie released on Thursday, 25th January worldwide, sans five states – Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Goa, due to law and order problems.
Third day collection of the film was Rs 80 crores at the box office.