A couple of days ago, actress Swara Bhaskar, in an open letter to Sanjay Leela Bhansali, said she "felt reduced to vagina" after watching Padmaavat and criticised the filmmaker for glorifying the act of jauhar. The actress received massive backlash from netizens for airing such an opinion on a period film based in the 13th century and for allegedly trivialising the meaning of feminism.
Padmaavat co-writers Siddharth-Garima also gave a befitting reply to Swara in an open letter titled 'An open letter to all Vaginas' and schooled the actress by mentioning the 'true' and 'real' depiction of feminism in recent films.
And now, Raveena Tandon, who is a staunch feminist, has slammed the Raanjhanaa actress on social media with a strong note in reference to the latter's open letter.
"Lots more stories of hell unleashed by "Mankind" ! this is NOT the 13th century, she should've agreed to be a sex slave wonder why she burnt herself? (sarcasm) can a 21st-century world help these women #swarabhaskar," Raveena Tandon wrote on Twitter sharing an 'earth-shaking' story of a Yazidi girl who set herself on fire to make herself unattractive to the men after she was sold eight times by Isis and raped 100 times during 10 months.
An excerpt from Swara Bhaskar's open letter reads, "You do know that acts like Sati and raping women are two sides of the same mindset. A rapist attempts to violate and attack a woman in her genital area, penetrate it forcibly, mutilate it in an effort to control the woman, dominate her or annihilate her. A Sati- Jauhar apologist or supporter attempts to annihilate the woman altogether if the genitals have been violated or if her genitals are no longer in the control of a 'rightful' male owner. In both cases the attempt and idea is to reduce women to a sum total of their genitals."
Filmmaker Amartya Bhattacharyya, who was awarded the Rajat Kamal for the Best Cinematography in non-feature film at the 63rd National Film Awards for his fantasy documentary Benaras - The Unexplored Attachments, said that it's a difficult situation to deal with people when emotions ride over senses.
In his long Facebook post, Bhattacharyya wrote, "Film-making is tough. Imagine a situation ....
Situation : 13th century | An invading ruler overpowers a standing ruler | Queen and women are in a helpless situation.
Now, as a film-maker, you've two options ....
Option 1 - The queen and other women would jump into the fire (following the popular history) and choose a dignified death over inevitable rape and disgrace.
Option 2 - The queen and other women would choose an inevitable rape over death (doesn't matter what most history books say. After all, it's fiction).
If you choose Option 1, some Ms Bhaskar might say in open letters - "I felt reduced to a vagina. Women have the right to live, despite being raped sir. As your ticket- buying audience, I have the right to ask you how and why you did this."
If you choose Option 2, some other Ms Bhaskar (or may be the same person) might charge in open letters- "The women were made to live just to be raped sir? I felt reduced to a vagina. Women have the right to die in honor than to be forced to live in disgrace sir. As your ticket- buying audience, I have the right to ask you how and why you did this."
Now, as a film-maker, what do you do? When emotions ride over senses, it's a difficult situation to deal with. All I can say is - I feel your pain sir.
P.S - Neither am I a Bhansali fan, nor am I planning to watch Padmavat(i)."