Swara Bhaskar criticizes 'Padmaavat' for glorifying 'Jauhar': I felt reduced to a vagina

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's controversial epic drama 'Padmaavat' has not only successfully made its way to the movie theaters, but has also managed to rake-in even better numbers at the box office than his past couple of releases. 

After all the drama, the violent protests, threats and censorship the movie has gone through, audiences and critics alike have been showering praises for its grand treatment of the subject and performances of the lead stars.

Actress Swara Bhaskara, however, has expressed her concerns over the treatment of 'female sexual pride' and the way "self immolation" has been represented in the movie. The 'Anaarkali of Aara' actress feels that the movie has made her feel like she has been "reduced to a vagina" as a woman.

The actress has penned down an open letter to the filmmaker on 'The Wire', in which she has questioned the glorification of the act of 'Jauhar' (burning oneself as an actor of honor), questioning if the whether women - who go through rape, molestation, puberty - or those who are widowed, pregnant or unmarried - have the right to live or to decide it for themselves.

Source: Wikimedia Commons



Swara was one of the first celebs to watch the much-awaited magnum opus, and though she does appreciate Bhansali's art and quality of work in abundance in the letter, she later comes to the point to call out the filmmaker for presenting 'honor suicide' as something to be proud of.

"That's what I felt like at the end of your magnum opus. I felt like a vagina. I felt reduced to a vagina-only," the actress wrote on her letter.

She further continued: 

"I felt like all the 'minor' achievements that women and women's movements have made over the years - like the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to education, equal pay for equal work, maternity leave, the Vishakha judgement, the right to adopt children... All of it was pointless; because we were back to basics."

Swara's concern was with the filmmaker's projection of 'Jauhar', which made her question if he believes that women beyond their 'supposed sexual purity' or beyond the lives of their husbands, or the existence of a male partner, or the aftermath of a sexual assault - have the right to live?

"We were back to the basic question - of right to life. Your film, it felt, had brought us back to that question from the Dark Ages - do women - widowed, raped, young, old, pregnant, pre-pubescent... do they have the right to live?" she wrote.


"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," she wrote.

She further added:

"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... In general, there is more to life than the vagina."

You can read Swara's complete post here.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
What are your thoughts on Swara's letter?

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