‘Sword and Sceptres... is about women empowerment’

Debarati Palit Singh
Sunday, 3 March 2019

...says actor Aurosikha Dey whose first international film Swords and Sceptres: The Rani Of Jhansi has been selected for the 14th Vancouver International Women in Film Festival

Actress Aurosikha Dey is on cloud nine. Her first international film Swords and Sceptres: The Rani of Jhansi has been selected for the 14th Vancouver International Women in Film Festival which will be held from March 5 to 10. The former FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) student says that Swords.... is about Rani Laxmibai and the cavalry of women around her. “The film is about women empowerment. Back in 1857, Rani Laxmibai, while fighting the battle, had said that she didn’t need men to build an army and fight against the British. Therefore our film is the best example to be screened at Vancouver because it’s about women empowerment. It’s for the women, by the women,” says Aurosikha, who plays the role of Jhalkari Bai in the film. 
 
Directed by Swati Bhise, Swords.... also stars Devika Bhise, Rupert Everett, Nathaniel Parker, Derek Jacobi, Milind Gunaji and Arif Zakaria. 

A major part of the cast and crew were women, which made the journey of being part of the film even more memorable for Aurosikha. “It was Swati ma’am’s determination and impeccable vision that put together such magnanimous project together. It’s not an easy film to handle. Swati ma’am, being a woman, could extract each and every emotion through us and explain them beautifully. She told us that the film is not just about Rani Laxmibai but about women empowerment,” she says. 

She adds that while working on the project, she learnt a lot from Bhise. She is a fearless person, says Aurosikha, adding, “There were chaotic moments but ma’am knew how to tackle them.” 

Is the experience of working in a project with female director any different from that of working with a male director? “Not at all,” the actor says instantly, adding, “This is the second time I am working in a project with a female director. What is more important for a director is the team work. If you have a clear vision, it doesn’t matter if a man or woman is directing the project.” 
   
She says that she got to know about Jhalkari Bai, who was an important figure in Rani Laxmibai’s life when she started working on the film. “I had very limited idea about her. To get under the skin of that character, I had to read about her, her background and how Rani Laxmibai got her to join her army. Also, because it’s a war film, I had to learn sword fighting and horse riding, which was challenging. I had to perfect these acts,” says the actress. 

Swords...is the second film in 2019, which is based on the life of the warrior queen. Recently Kangana Ranaut’s Manikarnika was based on the same subject. But Aurosikha says that she will let the audience decide if the two films are similar. “I don’t want to comment on that. Having said that, Swords...is an out and out international film. It’s in English and will release across the world,” says the actress who is working on two web series — The Flesh, which is produced by Siddharth Anand and directed by Danish Aslam and The Cartel, which is an Alt Balaji production.

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