Shweta Basu Prasad Breaks Her Silence

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Shweta Basu Prasad Breaks Her Silence

Shweta Basu Prasad: ‘Don’t sympathise with me, Im not a rape victim

An ugly turn of events can derail ones life forever. It can corner and push an individual in the quicksand of despair. But former child actor and National Award winner Shweta Basu Prasad, who was allegedly caught in a prostitution racket, is a survivor, and this is her story.  

Are you over the incident now?

Im absolutely happy, in fact happier than I ever was. I have moved on. The past is dead and gone. It doesnt exist for me. The incident I agree was uncalled for, but I have been largely unaffected by it. I am back to work, finishing the post production of my documentary, Roots. Its important to keep working, instead of expecting too much or fighting too hard.

But didnt the press coverage affect you at all?

I have seen the press coverage, though not all of it. From whatever I saw, I was most disappointed by a statement that was made on my behalf. It was never made to begin with. I extend a warm hug to everyone who was supportive, but I wish people had waited for me to come back and clear the air, instead of adhering to concocted statements.

Do you think that was the worst phase of your life?

Honestly, you dont know what is the worst or the best phase. I can just say it was a diversion or a small bump that came my way. And its best to quickly collect yourself and move.

Your documentary did face a set-back, right?

I am running two months behind time. By September, the post-production work should have been over but now, I will work full-steam and get it done. I didnt do another film after Iqbal. I did a Bengali film and a couple of regional movies in my late teens. I was into photography. I studied mass communication and also did freelance journalism. As a media student, you want to edit, do short films and documentaries. I decided to do something to highlight classical music in the mainstream. Lots of people like AR Rahman and Vishal Bhardwaj have supported me. People should know about classical music and its faces the way they know their freedom fighters and businessmen. I will present my documentary to the Indian government and request the HRD minister to have it included in school syllabus.

Have you begun to socialise alongside work? 

I went to see Einstein. Naseer uncle invited me for it. It has just been a week since I came back from Hyderabad and Im already moving around with my friends and in my old circles. Its better to socialise and feel normal than sitting at home and sulking. That sets tongues wagging.  

Has Bollywood opened its doors for you again? 

Which doors were shut?  If I just have to conduct a post-mortem on the comment, let me tell you I am an outsider who has grown up in Bollywood. I am just making my stand clear on that statement. I auditioned for Pradeep Sarkar and Vikramaditya Motwanes films before 2011. And then in 2014, I auditioned for Sonam Nairs next. I am not saying this to flaunt names, but I was always getting work. Anurag Kashyap had even offered me to be his AD, but I had board exams. He wanted me to be around at the movies. These guys have always been there... Statements like doors were shut for me not only tarnish my family and my name, but it also shows the industry in bad light. It was concocted and wrong.

Would you like to help out other girls who are not as fortunate as you have been?  

I taught English, Hindi and music to the girls at the NGOs rescue home. That was my little contribution. I wouldnt mind going back there and spending half a day, once every few months, to teach them whatever little I can to better their lives. but I dont want to make any commitments as such. I just feel that time heals everything and nothing is permanent.

What is happening on Hansal Mehtas film that he has offered you? 

No comments on that for now, but Im grateful he showed support. I just think that projects that are offered out of sympathy, compassion and recommendation are few and far between. Its your sincerity that will take you places and get you work lifelong. I just want to earn my projects on merit, not sympathy.

Have people been too sympathetic towards you? 

I am not a rape victim, so dont show so much sympathy. I understand what happened was unpleasant and ugly, but it doesnt mean I need so much sympathy. It was an experience and a great lesson learnt. Too many people think otherwise but those two months in the home without phone, internet, papers, family, friends, lawyer, Facebook and Twitter were beautiful. Theyve strengthened me to the point that now I can face anything in life. Im proud of being a survivor.

Youve also turned into a poet. 

Poetries are born out of despair, when there is hope or no hope at all. If you read the poem I penned, it speaks about the girl who was at the cliff, close to quitting but there is always a choice to fly out of the situation. We are the angels and we are the demons. We can, and we must choose to be angels, who can fly!