It seems, the tremors of Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment controversy in Hollywood have finally reached Bollywood. After Priyanka Chopra opened up about the "Weinsteins in Bollywood" the other day, now Swara Bhaskar opens up exclusively to Mumbai Mirror about her experience.
And yes, it's about a director.
She said: "Of course. I've been propositioned by men who were in a position to cast me. I lost a few roles because I didn't give in. It made me vulnerable, nervous. Some people even stopped responding to my messages because they knew I would not give in. Being an articulate, educated girl they sensed that I would not take things lying down."
"There have been catcalls during shoots and eve-teasing on one of my sets. I've been groped by a mob during promotions and during a 56-day outdoor at a remote location, when I was still fairly new, the director harassed me with texts and dinner invites. He stalked me during the day and called me through the night," she added.
"I was asked to go to his hotel room on the pretext of discussing the scene and would find him drinking. During the first week itself, he started talking about love and sex and one night, arrived in my room, drunk, and asked to be hugged. It was scary!"
"I was young and alone. I would switch off the lights after pack-up and remove my make up in the dark so he would think I was asleep and stop calling me."
When asked if it was stopped, she said: "Yeah, after I told him that he was scaring me and making me uncomfortable. I told him I wouldn't be able to act if this continued. He acted hurt and said I had misunderstood him. He stayed away for two weeks, then he was back to his tricks. I finally confided in the executive producer and made sure that I was escorted everywhere."
Swara concluded by saying, "We need to stop silencing and start sharing. We need to stop slut-shaming and ask for a collective platform to deal with this issue. We are all guilty of being in the know and remaining silent. And that is complicity."