Tsunami Of #ME TOO claims in the  Bollywood  Industry

The widespread digital #MeToo movement came about a year ago after allegations against powerful Hollywood Moghul Harvey Weinstein, it encouraged many women, young girls and men from Bollywood industry to come out with their narratives of being exploited or attacked sexually.

Bollywood #MeToo
Bollywood #MeToo

India’s very own #MeToo was vented from last month, with manifold of women in sound creditable designations getting out  claims of assault, sexual maltreatment, and badgering at the working environment because of star editors, film producers, corporate honchos, financiers, and conspicuous individuals in different parts.

In India this  movement got momentum with the actress Tanushree  Datta from Bollywood blaming fellow male actor Nana Patekar of sexual harassment.

Daisy Irani: Rape and sexual misconduct are rampant in India. Irani said, it’s a part of a wider problem of women being seen as inferior to men.

Daisy Irani who is a vetran actress now aged 67 , said she was abused by many men throughout her career . She was just a child star but did not tell anyone at the era because she did not realize how it would be seen by the outside world. She was very doubtful then whether she would be believed.

BOLLYWOOD SEXUAL PREDATORS

Bollywood #MeToo
Take no like a good man

Alok Nath : From the famous 90s show of Tara fame,a veteran writer cum producer has accused Alok Nath for sexual assalt almost two decades ago.It was the momentum of #MeToo that gave her the strength to share her ordeal on the social media account. Other actresses as Sandhya Mridul have shared the same pattern of sexual assault by Nath.

His Sanskari image has been shattered by many television and film actresses. He is known for his alcoholic hooliganism and inappropriate behaviour.

Alok Nath responded to the allegations saying, “I am neither denying nor admitting to this. It (rape) must have happened, but the culprit must be somebody else. I do not want to talk much about it because that would mean stretching the issue.”

Gaurang doshi: Bollywood film industry actress Flora Saini, who played the role of the lead angry spirit in the recently released Stree with Rajkummar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor in the lead, has come forward to share her story of assault and harassment at the hands of producer Gaurang Doshi.

The actress even came out sharing her abused and battered face on Facebook by the hands of this producer. She saluted the survivors of sexual harassment for sharing their stories and normalising the act of voicing out.

Rajat Kapoor : Two women have now accused Bollywood film industry actor Rajat of sexul harassment. . One journalist shared details of a telephonic interview in which Mr Kapoor allegedly asked her if she was “As sexy as she sounds” and “tell me your vital stats.”

Rajat posted a very lengthy apology on Twitter displaying very good qualities of a civil man. It was a note trying to defend himself by all means.

Kailash Kher : A female journalist has accused singer Kailash Kher of harassment. She said: “This creep kept his hand on my thigh.”

In his defence, Kailash said in a statement to IANS: “For all those who know me and have come across me, will know how much I respect humanity, especially women, even more for the ones who work in media since their work is difficult.”

“I am almost all the time in my own simple world, but in case anyone has taken or thought something differently about anything, then it is my sincere apology. My devotion to music makes me who I am and I am thankful for all the love and support,” he said.

Singer Sona Mohapatra has accused colleague Kailash Kher, best known for singing Teri Deewani, of sexual misconduct in a #MeToo account she shared on Twitter.

Subhash Ghai : Film  Director Subhash Ghai has now been accused of rape. Twitter user Mahima Kukreja re-shared an account which was originally narrated to her by an unnamed woman, who said that Subhash Ghai promised to be her “mentor in the film industry.”

Sajid Khan :  Bollywood film director Sajid Khan has been forced to step down from the fourth make of box office success Housefull. He did so in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against him by model-actress Saloni Chopra. She named Sajid Khan, Zain Durrani, and Vikas Bahl in a blog where she provided a detailed account of what she went through.

Recently  actress Aahana Kumra , Rachel White, and Simran Suri accused Sajid Khan of sexual harassment. Now, actress Priyanka Bose has opened up on Sajid Khan and shared her #MeToo story. Priyanka stated that Sajid misbehaved with her when she went for an audition at his place.

As a result, actors Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna have come out in support of the survivor.

Anu Malik: This infamous music director had in the 90s era been pulled by singer Alisha Chinai for sexual misconduct. Now in this fresh #Me Too movement a minor singer  Shweta Pandit, Sona Mohapatra and some other female singers have come up to raise their voice against the sexual harassment at work place. He has been removed as the judge of reality show Indian idol. He has been a repeat offender from the beginning and hopefully will be legally penalised.

Actress  Pooja Bhatt said in October last year that there were “many Weinsteins within Bollywood”.

Comedian  Utsav Chakraborty: it seems to have started on 4 October when a young female comedian accused Utsav Chakraborty, a 33-year-old comedian, of sending her an unsolicited photo of his penis. More allegations followed as other women replied to her tweet or she shared private messages they sent her (with their names blurred) – they said he had either sent them photos of his penis or asked them for naked photos of themselves.

Mr Chakraborty, who admitted to the accusation in a series of tweets, apologised the next day. By then, more women, many of them journalists, had begun to share stories of sexual harassment and even assault. He actually had no choice but to accept as there were enough evidence to nail his misdeed.

Vikas Bahl: Then on 6 October HuffPost India published a months-long investigation alleging that Queen fame director Vikas Bahl had sexually assaulted a female crew member in 2015. It also alleged that his business partners, including acclaimed director, Anurag Kashyap, knew about the allegation but took no action against Mr Bahl. A Kashyap has refrained from making any comments on this serious issue.

While actresses have spoken out before they often did not name their harasser or their allegations did not become part of a larger movement. Although the accuser remains anonymous, this is the first time such an allegation has been made public in Bollywood.

Suddenly, A-list stars such as Priyanka Chopra are tweeting about the imperative to #BelieveSurvivors. New witnesses are going public in support of Dutta’s account. The industry’s biggest male stars are being asked about the allegations at press conferences. “Neither is my name Tanushree, nor Nana Patekar, so how can I answer your questions?” was the curt reply of superstar actor Amitabh Bachchan.

In Hollywood, influential people such as producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey faced repercussions. In Bollywood, actor Nana Patekar, and filmmakers Vikas Bahl and Sajid Khan, among many others, have lost projects.

Nana patekar has been replaced by Rana Daggubati in Housefull 4 after these allegations.

Tanushree Dutta : The protagonist of the #MeToo movement in Bollywood industry. She took the entire nation by storm when she revealed that she was harassed by Nana Patekar while working  in the film ‘Horn Ok! Pleassss’. After the actress explained her ordeal to the media, it sparked a lot of controversies and lead to many other actresses coming forward and sharing their experiences with the world.

With more and more people coming out in open about the sexual harassment they have faced at the workplace, Bollywood’s own #MeToo movement has begun. And its effect is for all to see. Speaking about the same, Tanushree Dutta reportedly said that she was glad that people are referring to her as the torchbearer of the movement. She further revealed that she had just put across what she had gone through and that it was indeed important to clear all the misconceptions.

The actress was all praises for the girl who revealed her experience of being harassed by Vikas Bahl. And that she was happy with people boycotting the sexual predators by quitting their films. She believes that people are waking up and one cannot shame someone into silence.

 

THOUGHTS FROM MALE ACTORS

Ranveer Singh, one of Hindi film industry highest paid male actors, said in a 2015 interview that he had experienced the casting couch “first hand”.

He is one of the few men in Bollywood to voice concerns over abuse and harassment.

Farhan Aktar, an actor, director and singer, is another male celebrity who has spoken out. He has made comments about Tanushree Datta repeating her stand on the turmoil faced by her a decade back.

He founded MARD, the Men Against Rape and Discrimination campaign, which raises awareness around sexual violence across the country, working in small villages and remote areas too.

Farhan told the BBC that he would support women in Bollywood speaking out about abuse they say they’ve faced.

“I would trust the women when they say it exists, I completely trust them.”

He believes Bollywood’s #Metoo moment is on its way. “It’ll only change through women speaking up, some amount of shaming that will put fear into people’s hearts”.

CASTING COUCH

Shakti Kapoor has been engulfed in many such scandals. The first was when he was caught on camera touching an interviewer inappropriately. The only defence he had at that time was that he didn’t sign the release form required for it to be aired. The second time, was the infamous casting couch.

A news channel conducted a sting operation in 2005, where a journalist posing as an actress went to Kapoor. It can be clearly heard that Kapoor is demanding sexual compromises  from her. This had just sparked off a filmi controvery for a wile and then it died of a whimper.  S. Kapoor was banned by the Film and Television Producers Guild of India. The Association of Indian Motion Pictures and TV Programme Producers, however, decided not to ban him as no allegations against him could be proven. One week later, however, the Film & Television Producers Guild lifted the ban.

Business was back to usual after this sting operation of the casting couch.

OTHER ACTORS AND FILM CELEBRITIES WHO HAVE BEEN ACCUSED AND  BOOKED ARE:

  • Shiney Ahuja –He was charged for raping his domestic help in 2009.
  • Mahmood Farooqui- Film director was charged of rape by an American researcher in 2015. But was acquitted on bail.
  • Ankit Tiwari- The playback singer was arrested for allegedly raping his girlfriend in 2014.However the court has acquitted him of all charges.
  • Karim Morani- The veteran hindi film producer, was booked for raping a Delhi-based student in 2017. But was granted bail.
  • Papon accused of child abuse in a reality show.
  • Madhur Bhandarkar
  • Rajesh Khanna
  • Aditya Pancholi
  • Om Puri

There is a list of these powerful men who are accused and shamed but they are back at work.

CORRECTIVE MEASURES

With a growing public outburst against powerful and abusive men in Bollywood, some companies have instituted new measures to make women feel safe in their work environment. Organizations like the Cine And TV Artistes Association (CINTAA) are exploring complaints and Producers Guild is setting up a special committee to help #MeToo survivors. The least being done is the status quo is being challenged and publicly scrutinized. Victims are being heard and believed.

Intimacy directors: Hollywood is now signing up intimacy directors to assure safer working environment for the actors. Hopefully Bollywood industry can learn from them.

These flooded  outpourings trembled the nation that has fabricated a culture of quietness around such maltreatment, breezily rejecting or pardoning such conduct on men’s part. In between the lines in most of the organized sector comes the understanding that men will be men. “In many cases, the naming and disgracing of the assaulter by the women was gone with protests of not getting any review from the concerned bodies.

The journey for justice has just been initiated. The #MeToo movement is a stage forward, yet just the first in a long voyage to end deep rooted male centric power structures and assault culture. What it does is demonstrates that the sexual abuse issue exists and that survivors around the globe are never again going to be complicit with those power structures. It aims to challenge them.