Faraz Ansari, the man behind India’s first silent gay love story, Sisak, is back with another film, Sheer Kurma. Faraz revealed to a leading daily that his cast for the film includes Swara Bhasker and Divya Dutta, who will be playing lovers in the movie. It also stars Surekha Sikri, who played the mother-in-law in Badhai Ho.
“Divya and Swara are two celebrated names in the industry and strong allies of the LGBTQIA+ community. It was an easy decision to approach them. In fact, when I started writing the film, I had Divya in my mind, and already saw her playing this role. The day I finished the script, I put up a status on Instagram saying I need someone to play the role, and Divya was actually the first person to call me. It was kind of bizarre that both of them were thinking on the same lines. Without even reading the script, she said she wanted to do the film. Swara is someone who is gentle and yet so powerful. There is a certain kind of vulnerability that she has that would win your heart. She is the perfect person to play the character. Both of them never had any reservations about playing a queer or lesbian character, which speaks volumes about who they are as individuals,” Faraz said.
Actress Divya Dutta, who was last seen in Badlapur, told the newspaper that since she has worked with Faraz before during the shoot of Stanley Ka Dabba, she believes in his ideas and knows what he has to offer. “For me, this is not just a film. It’s a story about relationships – including this woman’s with her family and her partner, which is something that needs to be talked about amid all the taboo that exists in our society. I took up this role because I wanted to challenge myself as an actor and discover another side of me. I am in good hands, as I have Swara and Surekha ji as my co-actors, who are equally fabulous. I always wanted to share a screen with them. It is going to be lovely to bring in all the emotions of women who are in this and find a way to strike a balance in society,” the actress said.
He discussed how the pool of movies, which focus on the women in the LGBTQ+ community is very small compared to the pool of movies with strong male characters from the community. It was difficult for Faraz to find producers for his film since they all wanted male protagonists instead of female leads. “The idea of Sheer Kurma came to me while I was traveling to various film festivals for the last two years. With Sisak, I realised that everyone is talking about gay men or bisexual men, but nobody was really talking about women in the LGBTQIA+ community. There are very few films from the LGBTQIA+ spectrum that talk about women as protagonists. Other than that, nobody is really talking about religion and sexuality, which I think is imperative, given the world we live in. I think religion, by default, becomes a part of our socio-political understanding in the world we live in today, and I wanted to make a gentle story, with a backdrop of religion and sexuality.”
The portrayal of lesbian women in commercial films like Ishqiya and Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, has paved the way for filmmakers like Faraz to reach a wider audience. And well, we have to say it is commendable to see mainstream actresses like Swara Bhasker and Divya Dutta taking up unconventional roles!