Has Bollywood deliberately sabotaged the #MeToo movement?
Nana Patekar, Vikas Bahl, Alok Nath, Luv Ranjan, Sajid Khan, Subhash Ghai, Rajat Kapoor – are these names ringing any bells? Let me refresh your memory as these people are accused of sexual harassment. India’s #MeToo movement was launched by Tanushree Dutta. Yes, that’s right! Tanushree, in 2018, came out with her sexual harassment and exploitation story and had accused Nana Patekar of sexual misconduct. But, here we are after six months or so and nothing has happened.
This issue resurfaces because recently, at the trailer launch of ‘De De Pyaar De’, Ajay Devgn was asked about the involvement of #MeToo accused Alok Nath in the film. Ajay very smartly avoided the question. The reason given by the makers was that at the time of the shooting, we weren’t aware of Sanskari Babuji’s (Alok Nath’s image on the big screen) involvement in the alleged scandal.
The great irony is that producer of the said film is another accused in Luv Ranjan, who is known for making chauvinistic and rank misogynistic films. On one hand, Ajay recently blasted trolls for targeting his daughter Nysa over her clothing choices. On the other, he is acting in films where women are objectified and ranked in order of their assets and sex appeal. If this is not hypocritical and appalling, then I don’t know what is?
‘De De Pyaar De’ is a manifestation of chauvinism and rank misogyny.
I have one simple and basic question is why no action has been taken against these alleged perpetrators? By just paying lip service and sacking them from projects counts for nothing. The great excuse offered by these harassers and their supporters is that the matter is sub-judice and law will take its own course. Bollywood is no longer a soft power and it is unwilling to get its act together.
Does anyone even care where Tanushree Dutta is right now? Is any follow up being done on her case? No, because media got its two minutes of fame and publicity and TRPs and now Tanushree is old news. Just to let you know, Tanushree is currently in America and would be feeling really angry and livid and rightly so!
Tanushree Dutta has been badly let down by her peers from the industry.
What message are we sending to young girls, who want to enter the industry? What assurances are we giving to them regarding their safety? In the West, vis a vis people such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others have paid a humongous price for their demented deeds and our industry is just going through the motions.
When the #MeToo movement erupted in India, everyone was forced to take notice and raised their voice, but now everything is back to normal. We have not only let down Tanushree Dutta but millions of girls, who have faced harassment at the workplace. I know India’s legal system is archaic and very slow, but Bollywood biggies have to preach what they practice.
Another great example is that despite being sacked as ‘Super 30’ director, Vikas Bahl allegedly is busy with the post-production of Hrithik Roshan starrer. The onus is on the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, and others to clean up the mess in Bollywood once and for all.
#MeToo movement is a legitimate one, but its momentum and gains are now all but over. Sexual harassment is a malaise and the Hindi film industry is just becoming a mute spectator. Are we waiting for the next 30 years for new names to come up or are we going to give justice to the victims, who have suffered mental and physical torture? The women like Tanushree Dutta, Vinta Nanda, Saloni Chopra, Flora Saini, Sandhya Mridul and others cannot become statistics and they have to get justice.
We are currently busy giving certificates on who is a nationalist and who is anti-national? My simple advice would be to give justice to the victims of sexual harassment.