Swastika Mukherjee on Rabindranath Tagore tweet: Wasn’t about Anupam Kher | Bollywood


Swastika Mukherjee is creating waves with her upcoming Hoichoi web series Nikhoj as she dons the cop uniform for the first time. Apart from this, she also grabbed all the attention with her last month’s tweet regarding Rabindranath Tagore. While many called it a ‘cryptic’ post hinting at actor Anupam Kher, Swastika told Hindustan Times that it had no hidden meaning.

Swastika Mukherjee will be next seen in Nikhoj.
Swastika Mukherjee will be next seen in Nikhoj.

During an exclusive interaction in Kolkata, Swastika sat down and answered some questions regarding her work, personal life and a lot many related to her activity on Twitter.

You tweeted ‘No one should play Robi Thakur’ and it went viral! Was it for Anupam Kher as many quickly assumed on the internet?

Swastika Mukherjee: See what I wanted to say is we should leave Rabindranath Tagore from propaganda, he should be left out of propaganda whether it’s films, books or seminars. I thought of going back (and clarifying) but I was busy at work. I even thought of writing that I was wrong in writing nobody should play Rabindranath Tagore. What I meant was nobody should include him in propaganda.

But, it just became like I was talking against Anupam Kher. I really like him as an actor. I followed his work since I started watching films. There are so many favourite Anupam Kher films that I have watched and I still re-watched them. It’s not about him playing Robi Thakur. As a Bengali, I just don’t want him to be included in another propaganda bu**sh*t, that is what I wanted to say. I personally depend on Tagore for a lot of things; he has shaped my childhood, adulthood and life altogether. I think for Bengalis it’s a sensitive space…I mean leave some people aside, because you cannot show the magnanimity of his life either way. You have to make a 10-season web series. Kitna hi aap dikhaoge? (how much justice will you do) I will be careful about how I choose my words.

Besides that tweet, it’s Nikhoj making people talk about you. You are playing a mother and a cop. Do you take feedback from your daughter regarding work?

Swastika Mukherjee: First I have to bribe her with gifts and makeup to watch my work. The only film she was eager to watch was Qala because she had travelled with me to Kashmir for the shoot. She was with me in Mumbai. She, Triptii (Dimri) and all of us used to chat a lot. She watched it before the release only because she had a personal inclination. She gives her opinion when I ask her ‘Am I looking fat in the film?’ She will be like ‘You are looking just how you look.’ (laughs) She gives very mean and blunt replies. But, she also tells me what she likes and dislikes.

When I am playing a mother, very naturally ‘mumma’ or ‘mummai’ comes out of my mouth during the shoot. These are the nicknames I use for my daughter. My daughter will be like ‘Why are you calling her that name? What is this? Why are you sharing your name?’ (laughs)

I remember you tweeted about being called a Bengali actor last year. It changed my perspective. Do you see the change now?

Swastika Mukherjee: When we talk about inclusivity, it should not be only about gender. It should be about the region also. I have seen people using these things for actors from the East. We don’t use words like Punjabi actors or Kashmiri actors. Manav Kaul is from Kashmir but we don’t call him Kashmiri actor. It specifically happens for Bengal, Odisha, and Assam. A Bengali film is also an Indian film. I have seen it that when you say Indian cinema people think it only means Bollywood.

During immigration in US or Europe, if they ask us (actors) about the purpose of our visit, we simply say ‘We have come for a shoot’. They assume it’s for Bollywood. It just becomes Indian cinema is equal to Bollywood. They don’t know there are other regional industries. We need to make everyone aware. Somebody has to start talking and writing about it.

A lot happened before and after the release of Shibpur. You don’t seem happy with the final result of the film…

Swastika Mukherjee: Too many things have happened. I really don’t want to talk about it, what has happened is gone. It would have been such a better film, which didn’t happen. It feels incomplete watching it. Thanks to whoever is the decision maker.

You started your journey in 2000 and now it has been 23 years. You are still going strong. What is that one thing that makes you feel proud when you look back?

Swastika Mukherjee: I charge the same amount or more than the hero’s fee, and get paid. (smiles) It’s a big thing to happen in a male-driven industry. Even if it’s one rupee more, it makes a difference. I have struggled and worked very hard to create a place for myself where I can charge the same remuneration as heroes and be paid also. It will not matter if you are only quoting (the money), you will also have to get paid. It takes a lot of time, and it doesn’t happen overnight but if you keep at it, after 20 years it will happen.


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