She took the road less travelled when she made her debut with an offbeat film like "Madholal Keep Walking" in 2010. Promising actor Swara Bhaskar now admits she is taking "better than baby steps" towards commercial cinema, which she believes, opens the gates to a larger audience - and adds longevity to an actor's career.
That she went on to play second lead in a highly commercial flick like "Tanu Weds Manu" after "Madholal Keep Walking", is also a sample of Swara's versatility, which she further proved with the early 2013 release "Listen... Amaya".
"While my first film was 'Madholal Keep Walking', but the film that gave me my identity as an actress was 'Tanu Weds Manu', which was a full-fledged commercial venture and a huge hit. 'Listen... Amaya' received critical acclaim.
"Now I'm awaiting the release of 'Aurangzeb' and 'Raanjhnaa', being produced by two of the biggest banners in the industry - Yash Raj Films and Eros (Entertainment), respectively. I think I'm taking better than baby steps (towards commercial cinema)," Swara told IANS in an email interview.
Moreover, she believes the categories of "experimental" and "commercial" cinema per se, are "fast dissolving" in the Mumbai film industry. "But yes, I would say for sure that commercial cinema guarantees vastly larger audience and longevity of career to an actor," she added.
The 25-plus actress also pointed out how it is a misconception that "strong and good roles for female characters are just found in experimental cinema".
"Commercial films have also given us strong female roles, like Geet in 'Jab we Met', Vidya Baghchi in 'Kahaani', Suzanna in '7 Khoon Maaf', and if we go back, Anarkali in 'Mughal-e-Azam', Radha in 'Mother India' and Rosie in 'Guide'.
"These were hugely successful commercial ventures. In my own body of work, one of my most fun and challenging roles has been that of Bindiya in the forthcoming film 'Raanjhnaa'," she said.
"Raanjhnaa" is the much-talked about Anand L.Rai-directorial, featuring Sonam Kapoor and southern star Dhanush in key roles. Swara is currently dubbing for it.
Terming her role "amazing", she said: "I play Bindiya. It's a part beautifully etched out by writer Himanshu Sharma and lovingly directed by Anand sir. Bindiya is probably the most fun character I've ever essayed in my career so far."
With each film, Swara is trying to maintain variety.
If she played a modern Delhi girl, a spoilt brat in "Listen... Amaya", she will be seen as Prithviraj Sukumaran's wife Suman, "a strong character", in Atul Sabharwal's crime thriller "Aurangzeb". Post "Aurangzeb", which releases May 17, she is looking forward to "Raanjhnaa", which hits the theatres towards end of June.
Later in the year, she will be seen in Anirudhh Chawla' relationship comedy "Sabki Bajegi Band", and then in Debaloy De's "Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai", a horror film.
So, "different genres with diverse characters" are what are keeping Swara excited about her Bollywood journey.
But there's something she finds very challenging!
"Everyone in the industry is so stunningly good looking and well-groomed and fit that I think my greatest challenge as an actor is getting that damn six-pack or whatever and those super toned arms! Especially considering I'm a lazy bum! Otherwise it's a great time to be an actor in the Bombay (Mumbai) film world," she said.
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