Actress Shweta Basu Prasad, the focal point of a prostitution scandal, has spoken about her arrest and the events that followed in an interview.
Former child star Shweta, who won a National Award for 2002 film Makdee, told that she had been in Hyderabad (where she was arrested) to attend an award ceremony and missed her flight back home: “I hadn’t been called to Hyderabad by any agent for commercial sex. I had gone to there to attend an awards ceremony. Call it fate or whatever, I missed my flight back in the morning. My air ticket and stay were done by the organisers of the awards function. I still have the ticket. I’ve been told that the agent has been arrested. The case is being investigated. I am a victim in the whole situation. There was a raid… I am not denying the incident. But the facts are not what they’ve been made out to be.”
Shweta said that she had been asked for names of other actresses by the police but had not given them any: “I didn’t even know many of their names. Why should I make comments on other actresses? Shame on the people who said I was forced to do certain things by my family to afford a lifestyle.”
The actress said she was treated well at the rescue home she was sent to, and which she was recently allowed to leave by the court: “It is a hostel for kids who are victims of human trafficking, etc. I volunteered as a teacher there and taught the kids Hindi, English and Hindustani classical music. I used my two months in there very productively. I was not depressed at all. Why should I be? I knew the truth. While I was in there I realized how lucky I was to have a family to support me. My parents have always wanted me to pursue a dignified career. After I did Iqbal, my parents made me pursue my studies. I make documentaries. I attend film festivals. I don’t have time to sit at cafes taking selfies. I’ve dedicated my life to cinema and acting. I am not going to let one incident spoil my life.”
Shweta also said that she hadn’t yet received a call from Shahid director Hansal Mehta who had previously said he might have a role for her in his next film. “I don’t want a role out of sympathy. I don’t want people to think I am cashing in on the controversy,” said Shweta, who won the National Award when she was all of 10.
Shweta was arrested in a Hyderabad hotel last month, with the organizer of the prostitution racket. She was quoted then as saying that bankruptcy had forced her into the sex trade. Many film insiders had publicly spoken out in her support, including actress Deepika Padukone and TV star Sakshi tanwar who played Shweta’s mother on the hit soap Kahani Ghar Ghar Kii.