Television actress Shilpa Shinde raised a hornet’s nest when she accused the produce of her hit television sitcom Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain of sexual harassment.
Now it seems the scandal that shook the entertainment industry—the first of the three celebrated sexual harassment cases registered against entertainment software producers this year—may come to a closure sooner than expected.
Apparently Shinde has been getting feelers to opt for a settlement.
Sighing more out of cynicism than weariness Shilpa Shinde says, “I find it very strange that very few people in the television industry have actually come forward to support me. Instead they are making me sound like some kind of a trouble-maker.”
She is evidently referring to colleague actress Kavita Kaushik who has questioned Shinde’s decision to come out in the open about her harassment a year after it happened. “Why after a year? Why not?!Would she(Kavita Kaushik) have supported me if I had spoken out earlier? I don’t think so. We all have our own inbuilt notions of what is right and wrong male attention. What may seem improper to me may appear to be quite common and acceptable to other women. Each woman has her own threshold of what is acceptable and not acceptable male attention.And every woman gets a different of attention. Even SaumyaTandon my former co-star from Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain, is in a different zone of understanding what is proper and improper behaviour. Her talent and beauty is different from mine.And the way she handles these qualities is entirely her look-out.”
Coming back to Kavita Kaushik , Shinde reveals, “I know for a fact even she had problems with the same producer, though I suppose of a different kind.How she dealt with them or what action she took is her business. I am dealing with my problem. The problem of harassment is rampant in the television industry. If others want to speak in my support, fine. If they don’t want to, it is still fine with me.”
She wonders where all the rational sensible voices in the entertainment industry have vanished to. “There is a lot of mental harassment faced by us television artistes. At what point it becomes sexual harassment is entirely up to the individual’s definition of acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour. Poor Pratyusha Bannerjee lost her life when she couldn’t cope with the stress. Should I have committed suicide also? What good would it have done? Where were Pratyusha’s well-wishers when she was alive and in pain? Maybe if they had come forward to help her then she’d be alive today.”
In any case Shilpa Shinde doesn’t want to create the impression of exaggerating the issue. “I am doing what I think is right for me. Now I am being told to collect my dues of 30-32 lakh rupees and end the matter. Arrey! This is not about money.”
However she is open to a settlement. “I am not relishing the idea of attending unending court sessions. I am open to a proper closure. I was made to leave the show(Bhabhiji GharPar Hain) when my character in the serial was a major scene stealer. Even today my catchline from the serial Sahi pakde hain is used by people. They loved my character inBhabhiji Ghar Par Hain. But I wasn’t shown the respect I deserved by the producers.”