Swara Bhasker is truly grateful. People have praised her work in Faraz Ansari’s Sheer Qorma, and she is happy to participate in Gulshan Devaiah’s upcoming short film, Dobara Alvida. Swara opened up to E Times in an exclusive interview about starring in both the films, and representation of the LGBTQ+ community in world cinema. We will be premiering “Sheer Qorma” at Frame line Festival in San Francisco.
“‘Sheer Qorma’ will be screened at about 400 international film festivals for the first time, not only at Frame line. This news has made me ecstatic. It is an incredibly touching film. This was crafted with an immense amount of care and affection. It’s an incredible opportunity for me!” Swara exclaimed.
The interview goes as follows;
Do you see how well the film has been received?
When I was making the film, I knew it was an important project. I have not yet seen Faraz Ansari’s work, but I have witnessed his passion, and that allowed me to have faith in it. His craft matched his passion, and that is something to be thankful for. The film’s performances are amazing. Stories should come from members of the community and be told by others. Additionally, the film’s subject line is very universal because we’ve all had our parents misconstrue our messages. The aforementioned incident has happened to almost everyone at some point in their lives. What makes this film unique is that it’s both specific and universal.
When you were first approached to be in the film, did you have doubts about playing a queer character?
To say I was not at all sceptical would be an understatement. At first, I wondered if I needed to interview someone to understand how the character felt, because I had never played the role of a lesbian before. When I finally made the connection, she was just a woman in love. She is an ordinary human being like anyone of us. Nothing could be found on them. When I was in love, I knew how I felt. I just did my best to represent the character in a truthful manner. It was very familiar to me.
I was glad that Shabana Azmi, Divya Dutta, and all the other cast members were cast in their respective roles. There was a lot to feed off each other, and that made things go faster. To be standing next to them in the same frame was incredibly awesome.
Do you think contemporary cinema adequately reflects the diverse identities of the queer community?
As far as my opinion goes, I believe we have a stereotypical image of the LGBTQ+ community in cinema. This phenomenon is observed across industries. The same applies to Hollywood; it has a poor record in this regard. For as long as I can remember, I’ve believed that stories will be altered when people from those backgrounds make their directorial debuts. Additionally, this applies to women. When a woman is directing, we see female characters portrayed differently. In “Fire,” you can see the huge difference between an all-male film about lesbianism, and one like “Fire.” The movies created by Ashwini Iyer, Gauri Shinde, Zoya Akhtar, and many others feature strong female characters. Something very similar is applied to films made on the LGBTQ+ community, for marginalised groups, for the North East of India, and for the Kashmiris. To diversify stories, I believe that is the way to go.
You can learn more about my upcoming short film “Dobara Alvida” by reading this.
It is a heartwarming film. It is understandable because we have all been in that position where we said goodbye to someone, only to discover that a string, a plug, or an emotion is pulling or snagging on us. It’s a very cute story. This is about two lovers encountering each other in a shared taxi. It is unusual, but it is not totally impossible. The experience will leave you with a bittersweet taste in your mouth.
As one of the stars of the film, how would you describe Gulshan Devaiah?
Gulshan is one of the country’s most talented actors. He is very sincere, in a way. It was like night and day with him; he was always on time, while I was typically late. I would apologise to him first thing in the morning for being late. In addition, I also messaged him the other day to make sure he didn’t leave his house before I was ready to go. He had always come before the time, even when he was young. Gulshan is an exceptionally sweet person, and his sincerity is what sets him apart. I was glad because I was able to get along with him easily. We used to spend around 14 hours per day in the car because we shot the entire movie inside the vehicle. I’m a very close friend of the writer-director Shashank. Because of that, that process was pretty fun for me, too.