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Swara Bhasker stands up for her character's right to 'self-love' in Veere Di Wedding

While Veere Di Wedding has become a hit, Swara Bhasker's masturbation scene has raised the hackles of many. However, the actress has the right response to them.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Shriram Iyengar

Swara Bhasker's performance as the outspoken, devil-may-care Sakshi in Shashanka Ghosh's Veere Di Wedding has earned her praise. As the loud-mouthed, uber-rich woman breaking every stereotype, Sakshi is an example of the 'real' women who form the core of the film.

Veere Di Wedding, also starring Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor and Shikha Talsania, is a roaring success at the box office. But this has not stopped many from criticizing Swara Bhasker on Twitter. 

One of the more talked about scenes in the film saw Swara Bhasker's character choose a vibrator over her husband for pleasure. A rare scene that showed a woman taking control of her own pleasure, it was bound to be controversial.

While several men and women have praised the actress for taking on the scene, calling it 'empowering', quite a few have raised questions about its relevance, and how it connects masturbation with empowerment.

Veere Di Wedding review: Some fun, lots of chaos

If director Ghosh had to find a lawyer to defend the character and the use of the scene online, he might have found few better than his actress herself. Swara Bhasker has taken on the job of defending her role, and is doing it with aplomb.

Always outspoken, she seems to be using her Twitter handle to deliver the right jabs at her detractors.

The question of empowerment

On being asked how a woman pleasuring herself can be considered empowering, Swara Bhasker answered with a logic and triteness that left all arguments behind. "In a culture that largely silences or ignores or shames female sexuality, showing a girl gratifying herself in a film in a non-judgemental way is empowering," she shot back. 

Telling the parents!

Every time any discussion about sex or sexuality breaks out in India, parents are never too far away. So, it was not surprising when someone dragged the actress's family into the discussion asking how they would feel about her act in real life. 

The 30-year-old actress had to remind the user that there is something called 'discretion', which does not require an adult to share everything with their parents.

Angry Indian Goddesses

Then, there was the oldest trick of comparing women to goddesses. Sure enough, the actress was annoyed at the idea that women who pleasure themselves cannot be 'respected' in the same way as they were earlier.

"Now that you realize that women can pleasure themselves and it’s ok — now you cannot respect them," she questioned. 

Mother Lode

The actress has little to worry on the parental front though. Her mother, Ira Bhasker, a film historian, might understand the depiction better than quite a few of those venting on social media. She came out in defence of her daughter, saying the depiction of female sexuality in Indian cinema has changed.

In an interview with VICE.com, she said, "Sexuality per se in Indian cinema is not a subject that has been directly expressed. At the same time, historically, our cinema is unique in the sense that it has developed, over the years, a very complex and refined idiom on eroticism. And that idiom is the song."

She added that there has been a move from 'metaphoric and symbolic articulation' towards a 'much more direct articulation.'

This is not to say that Twitter is set on baiting the actress for her opinions. Several tweets shared on the timeline show a growing number of men and women understanding the nature and symbolism of the scene. 

Even co-star Sonam K Ahuja, when asked about the trolling of Swara Bhasker earlier, was quoted by ANI news agency as saying, "I think people just like to troll her because she has an opinion and a point of view." 

With Veere Di Wedding already crossing the Rs40 crore mark in its first four days, the best answer to any criticism might be the box-office collections. 

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