Filmmaker Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari has directed Swara Bhasker in her first directorial titled Nil Battey Sannata. As beautiful as the film was, it also began a warm relationship between the two artistes who are absolutely in love with their crafts. The affection and respect Ashwiny has for Swara reflected in the brief chat that she had with us over a call on the actor’s 32nd birthday. The Bareilly Ki Barfi director shared some interesting anecdotes about her “gutsy” friend, Swara, who is equally dedicated to both activism and acting. In the interview, Ashwiny shared how Swara got emotional about the war in Syria in the middle of the shoot and just how stunning she is both inside and out. After all, what could be the best gift for any actor than having a special birthday surprise from her director! Excerpts: Also Read - Swara Bhasker's Heartfelt Interview on Breaking up With Himanshu Sharma: Itna Hi Tha Humara Journey
How well do you understand Swara both personally and professionally?
I got to know Swara when I was making Nil Battey Sannata (2016) and that was when we became good friends. The thing about Swara is that she’s very gutsy. She’s gutsy in life and she’s the same while making films as well. Swara went beyond her limits and calls to prepare for her character. I had asked her to meet women and interview them, but she put more effort. I remember she used to put notes after every line in the screenplay. She used to have a green pen and a red pen and she used to mark accordingly. Also Read - Sheer Qorma Trailer: Shabana Azmi, Swara Bhasker, Divya Dutta Bring Beauty, Sensitivity, Courage And Homosexuality
I call her gutsy… because the film I made was not a common story. Not many female actors would be comfortable playing the role that Swara did -to play a mother on screen – that too from a society where her character belonged in the film. Swara did everything which was asked and beyond. She put on weight… and it was a very low budget film also, but nothing deterred her. She’s a giving person. Also Read - Swara Bhasker Draws Fans Attention Back to Kashmir 'Lockdown' With Elegant Pictures in Pashmina Saree
Can you please recall any incident that helped you know her deeply, something that moved you?
There are many incidents but I’ll tell you one. I couldn’t absorb that moment for long because I had to behave like a director then. You have to put your head over your heart sometimes and it was that situation for me.
We were getting late for the shoot (on the sets of Nil Battey Sannata) and my first AD (Assistant Director) was repeatedly trying to ask Swara to get out of her vanity (van). They were calling her but she was not coming out… and it had never happened before. She is always on time and she would manage everything on the sets. Then I myself went (to call her) and when I opened the door of her vanity van – I am the director, I can do that – I found her profusely crying. I asked her what happened. I asked her if someone said something to her on the sets or I said something that offended her. I asked her if there’s a lot of work pressure because we had been shooting at a place where we are not used to. She said, ‘no, there’s this war happening in Syria’.
Her political point-of-views are strong, she feels strongly for things and that shows this emotional side of hers, her strong presence on the humanitarian grounds. She said she had been so disturbed with the situation in Syria, she had been watching TV and getting texts about it. She started showing me the map and I told her (laughs) ‘I don’t have enough time for this. We need to shoot and we can chat about it over dinner. All your kajal is coming out. Stop crying. The crew is waiting.’ So that was one incident that just showed me how even though she has this extremely strong personality but she’s emotional and certain things and issues affect her in a way they don’t affect us.
Do you that the industry has been able to do justice with the kind of actor that she is?
I think she has been doing different roles which show the kind of person that she is. A lot of her roles are reflective of how she is in real life. Yes, I feel she can get more work. She needs to be more out there in terms of talking about her skills, her films. I think she needs to talk more about acting because it’s important for people to know about her skills. There’s so much perception about her, she needs to be there while managing that perception.
You have been trying to challenge the social norms with your body of work. Swara has been doing the same with her skills. How are you two different in your approaches in life… towards issues?
I think both of us are extremely different personalities. The only similarity we have is our approach towards the work that we do – the kind of detailing that matters to us, putting extra efforts to make things done and making sure that you are just not good but you are the best. Otherwise, we are two very very different people. I cannot speak the way she does. There’s so much confidence (in the way she speaks).
Please complete this – ‘Dear Swara…’
Dear Swara, as the waves move – sometimes fiercely and sometimes calm – be as bright and happy always. Happy birthday!