2018 was no doubt a year of reckoning for sexual predators in the entertainment industry,But why have the big A-listers of Hindi cinema not been named by the MeToo survivors?
The known offenders seem to have gotten away with their rotten conduct.
Ashoke Pandit, chief advisor of the Federation Of Western India Cine Employees(FWICE) agrees the naming and shaming has been selective. But he sees many changes at the workplace in the entertainment industry. “It is no longer cool for actors to cosy up to their heroines. The biggest of heroes are on their best behaviour. Even trying to gain sympathy from your leading lady by complaining about your marriage comes under the purview of sexual harassment. If an actor tells his co-star that his wife doesn’t serve him good food, he can be booked for harassment.”
A lot of the cases of sexual harassment are fostered by ignorance.
Says Pandit, “What is today acknowledged as sexual harassment was frequently not considered to be in the offensive zone . Maybe people didn’t know any better. But now every production house, every producer’s office, every set for a shooting must have an informed cell to check and control untoward behaviour. The process of cleansing has begun.”
When pointed out that the MeToo movement is perhaps being derailed by women with a personal agenda, Vinta flares up, “ I don’t know who those women with personal agendas are.I haven’t seen or heard of any. Request you to share their names if you know who they are? I don’t even know which women are those who will choose to invite the depraved gaze of our apathetic and insensitive societies upon themselves, just to score a point over a man whom they wish to settle a personal matter with and that too in public?”
Vinta stands up for all the women who have spoken up against Alok Nath’s alleged preadatory behaviour. “What is it thatNavneet Nishan, Sandhya Mridul, Deepika Amin, Himani Shivpuriji or for that matter I, going to get from doing this except for the comfort of knowing that there is justice in our world and that it will not be denied to us just because we happen to be women? Also that there was someone who chose to humiliate and insult us with absolute impunity, but he couldn’t get away with it because our world is a fair world?”
Vinta senses the hostility from certain section towards her endeavor to see justice done for the wrong that was done to her in the past. “Even though I have all of you on my side and unequivocally, I can still sense the wrath of the fence-sitters around me. Their silences are filled with volumes of indifference and callous disregard and it is palpable. We are all much older today but should we not have tremendous amounts of respect for young women like Rachel White, Saloni Chopra,Simran Kaur Suri, Mandana Karimi, Kritika Sharma and all the other nameless and faceless young girls who have complained to the several committees which have been set up in the last five weeks and to their networks and channels where they work? And who have their whole careers to live as yet but have still shown great courage to have stepped out to call out the most powerful.I believe that by now the complaints that have been made post the breaking out of the MeToo campaign are in thousands of numbers.”