DUBAI: Swara Bhaskar is known to be vocal and unafraid from speaking her mind.
This was evident from the stance she acquired when Padmaavat got banned earlier this year. The budding Bollywood actor then wrote a no-holds-barred letter to the film’s director Sanjay Leela Bhansali talking about how it had a limited portrayal of women. The Prem Ratan Dhan Payo starlet, in fact, went on to accuse Bhansali of objectifying women in his film.
Bhaskar then received more backlash from some right-wing Hindu factions when she spoke up against the Kathua and Unnao rapes in India. Things escalated to the point that Amazon India was left with no choice but to take down their small interaction with her on Twitter.
Now, Bhaskar’s recently-released film Veere Di Wedding is the story of four young women who are dealing with their own sets of personal conflicts. Her character Sakshi Soni is a rich but troubled woman who is on the verge of a divorce. Sakshi drinks like a fish, smokes like a chimney and curses at the speed of lightening but remains enviably unapologetic about it. The film also features one particularly sexual scene involving Bhaskar for which Veere Di Wedding is being criticised by many in India.
Therefore, it came as no surprise that the urban comedy-drama was banned from release in Pakistan. What one did not expect was Bhaskar’s take on the ban, which she proudly shared in an interview with Indian film critic Rajeev Masand. Herein, she claimed that she wasn’t surprised by the Pakistani government’s decision as the country is run by Shariah law. She went on to call Pakistan an “unsecular” and “failing state.”
Needless to say, the media on both sides of the border has been ablaze ever since the said interview was aired. Bhaskar’s comments about Pakistan angered many on both sides of the border, especially her Pakistani fan following. She even managed to irk local celebrities such as Armeena Rana Khan, Urwa Hocane and Gohar Rasheed, who took to Twitter to condemn the Bollywood beauty publicly.
Hocane, in particular, appeared deeply hurt by Bhaskar and went on a tirade on social media. “I did what any Pakistani should and would do if such remarks are made about their motherland,” she told The Express Tribune, when asked how Bhaskar’s comments made her feel. “When you know the comments are false, you must correct the one saying them with truth.”
According to Hocane, it is not just hers but every Pakistani’s duty to stand up for their country. “We all need to work together towards telling the world what Pakistan is truly about,” she stated. “I’m not saying our country doesn’t have its flaws; no place is perfect. But we’re blessed with so much! The flaws are a small fraction as compared to what we are made of. I just want to say get to know us before judging.”
Hocane added, “I meant it when I said ‘Phenomenal Pakistan’ because Pakistan and it’s people truly are phenomenal.”
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