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Not entirely surprised by Kangana’s ‘B-grade actress’ jibe, says Swara Bhasker

Swara Bhasker speaks about the hatred being spewed on social media ever since the death by suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Our Correspondent

Ever since the death by suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput, a large contingent of social-media users has been up in arms against some big names from the film industry, accusing them of creating cliques and promoting only those related to them and trying to push the ‘outsiders’ away.

Actress Swara Bhasker, who spoke on the issue in an interview with CNN-News18’s film critic Rajeev Masand, expressed unhappiness at the negative portrayal of the film industry. “It’s very sad that the industry is being made out as this villainous, awful place with cold, heartless people," she said. "I mean it's not entirely true. It's competitive and probably very cruel in its power display. But so is life and so is our society.”

The actress believes the film industry gets targeted more simply because it is in the public eye. “The industry is like a free market," she said. "It is a private enterprise and most of us are contract labourers. So, all of the negatives of that kind of a structure come here, too. It is just because of the showbiz and glamour aspect [that] we are under a lot more scrutiny. That is not to say that there aren’t success stories.”

Swara Bhasker said that she, along with a few other actresses like Taapsee Pannu and Richa Chadha, was compelled to speak on the issue against her will. “This is not a debate where two sides are presenting their views equally," she pointed out. "Me, Taapsee, Richa and [filmmaker] Anurag [Kashyap] have spoken, but this is just because our names were dragged into this issue. I didn’t choose to begin this conversation, I got dragged into it.

“It seems the whole framework of this conversation has been set by this completely hysterical mob that is just looking to vilify people without facts or logic," she continued. "It just looks like there is this bloodthirsty need to find villains. Sadly, the reality might not be that.”

Without naming anyone, Swara said Rajput's tragedy was being used by some to garner publicity. “It doesn’t feel right to turn the personal tragedy of the suicide of such a bright, talented and successful star... I feel everyone needs to just take a step back and ask ourselves, ‘What are we doing?’ The police are doing their job and I’m sure they will do it in a fair manner,” she said.

Actress-filmmaker Kangana Ranaut has been one of those in the forefront of the campaign against nepotism and cliques in the film industry for the past few years. In a recent interview, Ranaut also lashed out at Swara and Pannu, outsiders to the industry like herself, calling them ‘B-grade actors’.

“It didn’t entirely come as a surprise," Swara Bhasker responded when asked about it. "Kangana has adopted a certain tone in talking about those who don’t agree with what she is saying on a particular point. I wasn’t necessarily surprised by that.”

Despite the name-calling, Swara believes Ranaut has the right to raise her voice. “I was a little taken aback that she should drag us into a sort of needless debate and name-calling on a public platform, on national television," she said. "It’s fine. People have the right to say what they feel like. I’m a democratic person and I will defend her right to exercise her freedom of expression.”