It is perhaps no coincidence that two of my favourite people from the Hindi film industry Jaya Bachchan and Swara Bhaskar are born on the same day. Of course I’ve known Swara for a much shorter time… for obvious reasons! But in avery short span of time we’ve come to share a mutual warmth and respect for each other’s work and space, which I find to be a refreshing change from some of the clingy friendships from the past which have gone kaput because of excessive exuberance.
My equation with Swara is just right. It is nurturing and healthy. I first saw Swara on screen in my dear friend Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzaarish where she had a walk-on part as a television anchor. Nothing there gave us any inkling of what was to come. Such unvarnished naturalistic performances in Tanu Weds Manu, Nil Battey Sannatta and specially Anaarkali Of Arrah.
There is an honesty about Swara easily comfortably and fluently reflected on screen. In recent times she has become a vocal opponent of vote politics and the politics of oppression. And if this means losing out on roles, so be it.
Swara celebrated her birthday two years ago in 2019 with us at our home in Patna. Who was to know that her next two birthdays would be “celebrated” in quarantine?
On April 9,2019 Swara was in Bihar to canvas for her favourite candidate Kanhaiya Kumar. She drove down to his constituency in Begusarai on April 8 and drove back early in the morning to come home in April to spend a couple of hours with us before flying back to Mumbai.We had ordered a cake for her and we had a little party for her. Swara looked happy and at home. She is that kind of a girl. No fuss. No frills. She promised to come back soon again.
Life has changed so much since then. I wonder when things would be like before. This is Swara’s second birthday since the Virus. She is missing her friends on this her special day. Hopefully next year she can have them all over for her birthday.