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Actor Tillotama Shome says people may not agree with Swara Bhasker's opinion on Padmaavat but their reasons for attacking the actor are "lame" and "warped". The actor said like any individual Swara has the right to express herself.
"Swara has the right to express herself in what she felt in watching a film. It could be this film or any other one for that matter. It could be another woman or even a man who felt that the representation of a certain character was reductive," Tillotama told PTI on the sidelines of the day two of the ongoing Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort.
"The reasons for the backlash, that she's receiving for expressing herself, are lame. One can say that they didn't like what she wrote. But if they say she can't say things because she played an erotic dancer in a film (refering to Suchitra Krishnamoorthi's tweet), then it is warped," she added.
Swara had criticised director Sanjay Leela Bhansali for the "glorifying" the now-banned archaic jauhar practice in an open letter, for which she is receiving a lot of flak on the social media.
In her letter, Swara had said that she "felt being reduced to a vagina - only" after watching the period drama.
Shome said it was unfortunate that feminism has got "such a bad reputation".
"I would really like to be in a place that celebrates masculinity, femininity and androgeny with grace. We need to expand our boundaries where we are not talking about what is it to be a man or a woman.
"We need to have a sense of inclusion and an expansive sense of self that is not so gendered," she said.
Meanwhile, responding to the criticism, Swara Bhaskar said, "Everyone has the right to critique and express their opinion. Like me, others also have the right to express their thoughts. I made a point, I said what I felt.
"I think I kept my point across in a very polite and respectful manner. I didn't have any bad intention or malice in my heart.''
The actor said she thought her questions were valid and needed to be asked.
"If people don't agree with me, it's totally fine. It's a democracy, so it's good if people think there can be a difference of opinion. Debates and discussions should happen. This is the purpose of art."
The mention of vagina in her letter has also caused incessant trolling against her, which, the actor said, surprised her.
"I didn't think it would cause a row and I never thought people, who are not even connected with the film, will get upset. I also didn't know that this special word, which stars from 'V', just taking that word would cause a controversy! I mean frankly, I said something, others reacted.
"There's nothing to be upset about, especially those who have nothing to do with the film need not be upset."
The actor, who worked with Bhansali in Guzaarish, said she is yet to speak to him personally about it.
"I haven't spoken to him about this. The letter I wrote was in the format of an open letter. Because this film has become a national talking point, it has become a part of national conversation." PTI