The director who hounded Swara Bhaskar for hugs…Have you mended your ways?

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The Hindi film industry is experiencing its own #MeToo movement, a result of the naming and shaming of top Hollywood brass for sexual harassment. Now Swara Bhaskar has come forward to speak about the intimidation and pressure she has faced by men in power, because she refused to give in. The Veere Di Wedding actress discloses that not only was she propositioned by men who were in a position to cast her, she also lost out a few roles because she didn’t give in. Being new and insecure at the time, this made her feel more vulnerable, nervous. She declares that some people even stopped responding to her work messages because they knew she would not give in. “Being an articulate, educated girl they sensed that I would not take things lying down," she says.

The harassment took different forms – if she was the object of catcalls during shoots and eve-teasing on one of her sets, she was even groped by a mob during promotions. The worst would have to have been the time she was on a 56-day outdoor schedule at a remote location. It was when she was still fairly new, and the director bombarded her with texts and dinner invites. Apparently, the man would stalk her during the day and plague her with calls through the night. She would be asked to go to his hotel room, to supposedly discuss the scene, only to find him in the middle of a drinking session. Her harasser started talking about love and sex during the first week itself, and actually arrived at her room one night, drunk and demanding a hug.

It reached a point where the young and frightened Swara would switch off her room lights and remove her make-up in the dark so he would think she was asleep and stop calling her.
Swara’s message to actresses facing such harassment – “Lose the part but don’t get on the couch.” She likens it to giving a bribe and that, in her book, is just completely wrong.

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