Swara Bhaskar (born 9 April 1988) is an Indian actress who works in the Hindi film industry. Best known for her supporting work in mainstream productions and starring roles in independent films, she has won two Screen Awards and has been nominated Filmfare Award on three occasions.
Swara in 2017
|Born||9 April 1988|
|Alma mater||Miranda House|
Jawaharlal Nehru University
Swara, the daughter of naval Commodore C. Uday Bhaskar (Retd.), was born and raised in Delhi. After receiving her bachelor's degree in English literature from the Miranda House, she enrolled herself at the Jawaharlal Nehru University to complete her master's in Sociology. Swara made her film debut with a supporting role in the 2009 drama Madholal Keep Walking, a commercial failure. She achieved wider recognition for her supporting role of a bride-to-be in the commercially successful romantic comedy Tanu Weds Manu (2011). Her performance in the film was well received by critics and she garnered a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination.
Swara garnered further praise for her performance in the critically acclaimed romantic drama Raanjhanaa (2013), the role earned her second Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination. She then reprised her role from Tanu Weds Manu in the film's sequel and later appeared in the romantic drama Prem Ratan Dhan Payo; both productions were among the highest-grossing Bollywood films of 2015. Her starring roles in the independent films Nil Battey Sannata (2016), and Anaarkali of Aarah (2017) earned her further acclaim. She won the Screen Award for Best Actress (Critics) for the former and was nominated for Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress for the latter.
Early life and education
Swara was born on 9 April 1988 in Delhi to C. Uday Bhaskar, a Telugu Indian Navy officer, and his Bihari wife Ira Bhaskar, a professor of cinema studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Her maternal grandmother was from Varanasi.
Swara grew up in Delhi, where she did her schooling from Sardar Patel Vidyalaya and subsequently studied English literature at Delhi University's Miranda House where she was classmate with another actress Minisha Lamba. She did her master's degree in sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.
Debut and further roles (2009–2012)
Before Swara started acting in films she was associated with N. K. Sharma's "Act One" theater group in Delhi. She shifted to Mumbai in 2008 and made her acting debut with the 2009 film Madholal Keep Walking, which was screened at the 33rd Cairo International Film Festival but underperformed at the box office India. She then played a supporting role in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's drama Guzaarish (2010), alongside Hritik Roshan and Aishwariya Rai.
Swara then appeared in Srinivas Sunderrajan's black and white thriller The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project, which was touted as India's first mumblecore film, made on the budget of ₹40,000 (US$560) and completed in one year, was also the first Indian film to be screened at the Transilvania International Film Festival. However, both Guzaarish and The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project were box-office failures and Swara remained unnoticed for her performances.
Swara garnered widespread recognition among the audience as well as by critics by appearing in the 2011's commercially successful film Tanu Weds Manu in which she played the role of Payal, the best friend of the lead actress Kangana Ranaut, for which she received praise and several nominations, including the Best Supporting Actress conferred by the Filmfare Awards.
Critical and commercial success (2013–present)
In 2013, played the lead role in Listen... Amaya (2013), which also saw the reunion of actors Farooq Sheikh and Deepti Naval after 28 years, and earned positive reviews from critics. She then appeared in Raanjhanaa, along with Dhanush and Sonam Kapoor, which was one of the highest-grossing Bollywood film of the year. She received wide critical praise as well as second Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role of Bindiya. She appeared in a lead female role in the box-office flop Sabki Bajegi Band opposite Sumeet Vyas and in the moderate successful Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai with Bhanu Uday.
Swara served as a host for Shyam Benegal's television mini-series Samvidhaan, which was based on the making of the Indian Constitution. The series aired on Rajya Sabha TV from March 2014 to May 2014. On her trip to Lahore, Pakistan, Swara appeared as a guest in the Pakistani TV comedy show, Mazaaq Raat which was aired in April 2015.
Swara's had three releases in 2015. In her first release, she reprised her role of Payal in the romantic comedy Tanu Weds Manu Returns, a sequel to the 2011 film Tanu Weds Manu. The film and Swara's performance received wide critical acclaim. The film was a financial success as well and became one of the few women-centric film which ranks among the highest-grossing Indian films. Her next release was the romantic drama Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, in which she played the role of Rajkumari Chandrika alongside Salman Khan and Sonam Kapoor. Directed by Sooraj Barjatya, reviews while being mixed of the film, however, her performance was well received. With an estimated collection of ₹400 crore (US$60 million), the film became one of the highest-grossing Indian films. That same year she played a minor role in the collaborative bilingual X: Past Is Present. The film was directed by eleven filmmakers, and Swara appeared in Nalan Kumarasamy's segmet "Summer Holiday", which revolves around a young boy (played by Anshuman Jha), who goes to South India for summer holidays where an Aunty seduced him so that her husband can rape him. Although the film received mixed reviews, but her role of Aunty was particularly praised. Namrata Joshi of The Hindu wrote "X: Past Is Present belongs to its womens".
In 2016, Swara played the lead in Anand L. Rai's comedy drama Nil Battey Sannata which marked her fourth collaboration with Rai. Swara was initially sceptic about the film because of the age difference between her and her character, however, she changed her mind after reading the script and played the role of a mother of a teenager. Upon the release, the film as well as Swara's performance received critical acclaim and she was awarded with the Best Actress trophy at the Silk Road International Film Festival in September 2015. She made her web debut in upcoming web series called It's Not That Simple which is produced by Viacom 18’s streaming service Voot. The show revolves around the idea of marriage, relationships, a woman’s stand in a marriage, love etc. The series feature Swara along with television stars Vivan Bhatena, Akshay Oberoi and Karanveer Mehra in the lead roles. The series is directed by Danish Aslam, who has previously helm' films like Break Ke Baad, Salaam Namaste, Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic.
Swara has completed shooting for the delayed Abbas Tyrewala's comedy drama Mango, starring Chandan Roy Sanyal and Monali Thakur, being produced under the banner of Kaleidoscope Entertainment. She also played the lead role in Shashanka Ghosh's Veere Di Wedding, a romantic comedy, co-starring Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor and Shikha Talsania, about four girls who embark on a trip from Delhi to Europe. Swara Bhasker’s masturbation scene using a vibrator was praised for its frank portrayal of women's sexuality. On this film ban in Pakistan, Swara said that she can't expect more from Pakistan, which is a failing and non-secular nation state and run by Sharia laws.
Open letter regarding Padmavaat
After the release of Padmaavat, Swara wrote an open letter to the director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and wrote, "At the end of your magnum opus, I felt reduced to a vagina only". The letter drew mixed reception.
Comment on child co-actor
In November 2019 during a popular YouTube show, Swara verbally abused a 4-year old co-actor, calling him chutiya (Hindi pejorative; literally translates to cunt, typically used to denote stupid people), after hearing him refer to her as an aunty (a term typically reserved for older people). Netigens alleged of child abuse and trolled her over Twitter; a NGO went on to lodge a police case for "child abuse".
Swara has been a vocal critic of the Citizenship Amendment Act and participated in the accompanying protests. Cases were since lodged against her for inciting communal disharmony with provocative speeches. She came out strongly against the arrest of Safoora Zargar an anti-CAA activist charged with UAPA by Delhi Police.
She launched her production house Kahaaniwaaley with her brother Ishan Bhaskar on 25 January 2019.
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|2009||Madholal Keep Walking||Sudha M. Dubey|
|The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project||Swara Bhaskar / Maya|
|2011||Tanu Weds Manu||Payal Sinha Singh|
|Chillar Party||Battle Hour Anchor|
|2013||Listen... Amaya||Amaya Krishnamoorthy|
|Sabki Bajegi Band||Jaya|
|2014||Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai||Ayesha Saxena|
|2015||Tanu Weds Manu Returns||Payal Sinha Singh|
|Prem Ratan Dhan Payo||Rajkumari Chandrika|
|X: Past Is Present||Aunty|
|2016||Nil Battey Sannata||Chanda Sahay|
|2017||Anaarkali of Aarah||Anarkali|
|2018||Veere Di Wedding||Sakshi Soni|
|2020||Sheer Qorma||Filming |
|2016-present||It's Not That Simple||Meera||Web series|||
|2020-||Rasbhari||Shanoo Bansal||Prime Video|||
|2020||Flesh||ACP Radha Nautiyal||Eros Now|
|2012||Tanu Weds Manu||Filmfare Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|||
|Zee Cine Awards||Best Actor in a Supporting Role– Female||Won|
|International Indian Film Academy Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|Screen Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|||
|2014||Raanjhanaa||Filmfare Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|||
|International Indian Film Academy Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|Screen Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Won|||
|Zee Cine Awards||Best Actor in a Supporting Role– Female||Won|||
|2016||Nil Battey Sannata||Silk Road International Film Festival||Best Actress||Won|||
|Screen Awards||Best Actress – Critics||Won|||
|2018||Anaarkali of Aarah||Filmfare Awards||Best Actress (Critics)||Nominated|||
|Veere Di Wedding||Lux Golden Rose Awards||Confident Beauty of the Year||Won|||
|Screen Awards||Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female)||Nominated|||
|2019||Filmfare Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|||
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- "In conversation with Swara Bhaskar | Yale MacMillan Center South Asian Studies". southasia.macmillan.yale.edu. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
- "Happy Birthday Swara Bhasker: 7 Facts About 'Veere Di Wedding' Actress". News Nation English. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
- "Dating a writer makes for great conversations: Swara Bhaskar". Hindustan Times. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
- "Swara Bhaskar calls herself an unapologetic feminist, says it's a misunderstood term". Hindustan Times. 9 June 2017.
- "My experience of Bollywood not nepotistic at all: Swara Bhaskar". Deccan Chronicle. 15 March 2017.
- "Sonam Kapoor is a better friend to me than I'm to her: Swara Bhaskar". The Indian Express. 23 March 2017.
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- "No sex for a role: Swara Bhaskar". Times of India. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
- "I was always a dramebaaz child: Swara Bhaskar". The Times of India. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- "Bindiya and Murari have some of the best dialogues in the film: Swara Bhaskar – Hindustan Times". 4 July 2013. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
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- "Only fittest can survive in Bollywood: Swara Bhaskar". Times of India. 19 January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
- "We need to look at our own roles in society: Swara Bhaskar". Times of India. 31 January 2013.
- "Playing Amaya". The Hindu. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "Not seen someone as secure as Sonam Kapoor: Swara Bhaskar". The Times Of India. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
- "Swara Bhaskar anchors Shyam Benegal's Samvidhaan – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
- ""London, New York, Paris Sab Fail Hain LAHORE Kay Aagay" – Indian Actress Swara Bhaskar". Siasat.pk. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
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- "People warned me against taking up 'Nil Battey Sannata': Swara Bhaskar". Daily News and Analysis. 22 April 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- "'Mango' time for Rannvijay, Ranvir Shorey and Swara Bhaskar". Zee News. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- "Kareena Kapoor Khan and Sonam Kapoor come together for 'Veere Di Wedding'". The Times of India. 14 June 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
- "Trolls shaming Swara Bhasker over her masturbation scene in latest film need to shut up - Times of India ►". The Times of India.
- "'Veere Di Wedding' Twitter talk: 'Never heard abuses in films before?' Tweeple debate the 'sexist' criticism". 2 June 2018.
- "Urwa Hocane hits back at Swara Bhaskar for calling Pakistan 'a failing state'".
- Staff, Images (3 June 2018). "Urwa Hocane claps back at Veere Di Wedding star for calling Pakistan a 'failing state'". Images.
- "At The End of Your Magnum Opus... I Felt Reduced to a Vagina – Only". The Wire. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
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- "बच्चे के 'आंटी' कहने पर भड़कीं स्वरा भास्कर, लोगों ने जमकर किया ट्रोल". www.timesnowhindi.com (in Hindi). Retrieved 5 November 2019.
- "Swara Bhasker abuses 4-year-old kid for calling her 'aunty', gets trolled". Zee News. 5 November 2019. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
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- Radhakrishnan, Manjusha (31 December 2019). "Swara Bhaskar slams CAA as 'anti-India' and 'sinister'". Gulf News. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
- "Swara Bhaskar says Modi has betrayed Indian Constitution". Gulf News. 3 February 2020. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
- "स्वरा भास्कर फिर मुश्किल में, कानपुर की कोर्ट में याचिका दाखिल". aajtak.intoday.in (in Hindi). Retrieved 1 March 2020.
- "अदालत पहुंचा स्वरा भास्कर पर राजद्रोह का मामला, बढ़ सकती हैं मुश्किलें". Navbharat Times (in Hindi). Retrieved 1 March 2020.
- "Jailed anti-CAA activist Safoora Zargar trolled, Delhi police take no action". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
- "Swara Bhasker debuts as a producer with Kahaaniwaaley". Pinkvilla. 25 January 2019.
- "SHEER QORMA POSTER: SWARA BHASKER AND DIVYA DUTTA-STARRER HINTS AT A UNIQUE STORY OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE". Mumbai Mirror. 12 October 2019.
- "Sheer Qorma's first poster out! Swara Bhasker, Divya Dutta's love story looks beautiful beyond words". www.timesnownews.com.
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- "Swara Bhaskar to host Doordarshan's Rangoli". 2 November 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- "Swara Bhaskar bids adieu to DD National's 'Rangoli'". Retrieved 15 May 2017.
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