Nepotism not exclusive to film industry: Swastika Mukherjee opens up on Sushant, Dil Bechara and favouritism
After web series 'Pataal Lok', actress Swastika Mukherjee was recently seen playing a key role in late Sushant Singh Rajput starrer 'Dil Bechara', which released last week. Amid the heated up debate of nepotism in Bollywood in the wake of Sushant's suicide, Swastika in an exclusive interview with India Blooms correspondent Souvik Ghosh opens up about nepotism debate, Sushant's suicide, her bonding with onscreen daughter Sanjana Sanghi and much more
People are now lauding 'Dil Bechara' after Sushant Singh Rajput's death. But a section of netizens had taken jibes at 'Dil Bechara' when the film was announced. How do you see this? Is it hypocrisy on the part of a section of audience?
I think speaking anything on this matter is like opening up to a lot of abuse or trolls. We will be hit irrespective of our reactions. So primarily I do not know what is the right thing to do. Secondly, depending on my personal experiences and what is going on around, I feel 'regret is bigger than gratitude'. I felt regret gives us more solace than having gratitude for people when they are alive. It is not only about Sushant, but it is happening everywhere.
Sushant Singh Rajput, Sanjana Sanghi and Swastika Mukherjee
You spent an ample time with Sushant Singh Rajput during the shooting of 'Dil Bechara'. Did you feel anything like he was depressed and all?
No, no I didn't. I think this (depression) is something that people don't show. People who are depressed don't show it to everyone barring the close ones. Depression is so personal that everybody fights it in their own way, not necessarily to constantly talk about it every time and make it so evident to the public eye. I don't think as human beings, we really flaunt our sufferings. And in this entire Instagram (social media) culture, people seem to have wonderful lives.
What is happening on social media is not even a perception of truth. Maybe the close ones (of a person) may know the sufferings but no one projects it (depression) at all. It was not possible for anybody to understand that Sushant was going through depression. If family, close friends (of Sushant) were not aware of it, no one can expect co-actors to understand.
You have also been abused after a news article (which later turned out to be fake) that had fabricated your response towards Sushant Singh Rajput's death.
Yes. Forget about checking the source (of the news) or authentication, a person (the accused) is so much in grief by the suicide of a person that he is provoking another human being to die! No one will be able to find a rational or logical way to understand the (this) situation. People may criticise me or question my response even after not checking the authentication of the news, but they can't give me rape or acid-attack threats.
Dil Bechara Poster
You played the role of a mother of a young girl almost of your daughter's age in 'Dil Bechara'. Was there any point where your real and reel motherhood merged?
I did not need to work very hard for playing Kizie's mom (Swastika's character) because the age difference between Sanjana (Sanjana Sanghi) and Anwesha (Swastika's daughter) is not very big. Having a teenage daughter, I could not have missed the film and book 'The Fault in Our Stars'. Not watching 'The Fault in Our Stars' was almost like committing a crime for my daughter's generation when the film was released. So I was aware of the story and the character. Since it is a remake, the film has been Indianised to make it fit for our culture and society, which I thought was a very nice thing to do. (Mukesh Chhabra, filmmaker) Mukesh's brief to me was like I had to become a typical overprotective Indian mother. I think Mukesh's brief was something which was not unknown to me because I also remain panicky over my daughter.
How was your bonding with Sanjana Sanghi who has made a debut with the film?
My bonding with Sanjana had happened really well. It had clicked. Of course we behave more like friends, but during the shooting of the film, I really did not feel her like an actor for the first time (debut actor) but someone whom I knew for a long time. My bond with her has also remained beyond the film which is also because we had shot for a long time.
Sanjana Sanghi and Swastika Mukherjee
Do you think the Indian filmmakers do justice to the adaptations of novels?
Sometimes, yes. But here I would say it is not just about the Indian filmmakers. I always feel one should watch the film and then read the book on which the movie is based. One will never like and enjoy the film after reading the book (on which the film is based) because the transformation of a vivid description of a book into a film is never possible.
You have once again worked with Saswata Chatterjee. It must have been a smooth sail for you two to act together in the film.
We don't have to worry about the technical things since we have worked for a very long time together. We didn't have to work extra hard for our own chemistry.
HE danced with #kizie and then HE danced with me :-) . . I’d like to remember Sushant like this. Always. Simple. Fun loving. Jovial. Keep dancing with the stars, boy. Love. Thank you, Mukesh @castingchhabra for capturing this beautiful moment. I will cherish this forever. . . #dilbechara #behindthescenes #momentstocherish #joyfultimes #aftershoot #sushantsinghrajput #shineon
Sushant Singh Rajput's death has triggered the nepotism debate on social media once again. You are now working in Bollywood with no lineage in the Hindi film industry, do you think nepotism has a place there?
I think it is everywhere. By the logic of nepotism, I should have been launched in a very big Bengali film considering my father (late Santu Mukhopadhyay) being a senior actor. But I had to go through the drill of working on television series despite not playing the lead role. If I have gained my popularity by going through the television series where I was not even the lead actress, I will take the credit for it.
Just two years ago, I was not even informed about my nomination at an award show. Despite being a star in Bengal, people were doing this to me. If I face this despite being a star, definitely others who are trying to make a mark face this (favouritism). The entire legacy of favouritism is not exclusive to Bollywood or the film industry but happening everywhere including the corporate world. Favouritism exists everywhere but the film industry is mostly talked about.