How difficult is it for the people in Bollywood to have a relatively balanced point of view on important issues? Are they actually that out-of-touch with the ground reality, comfortable in their cocoons? Preity Zinta showed us just how insensitive Hindi film actors can be, when she was asked one simple question on the #MeToo movement.
Being interviewed by Bollywood Hungama, Preity Zinta was asked about her thoughts on #MeToo. The actor only had to pretend to care and go through an auto-pilot answer, without necessarily having to make complete sense (the expectation from a Bollywood actor to say woke things isn’t very high). Instead, the Bhaiaji Superhit actor had a verbal diarrhea moment, where she said “it’s great that the #MeToo movement has started, but it’s important that the women use it for the right reasons. But I do feel bad when women use it when it’s not that serious or for personal vendetta or for publicity. It’s a very small percentage of women, but they’re diluting the movement. And there are people who have actually gone through those experiences and you hear all sorts of stories in Bollywood.”
Q. Did you ever have a #MeToo experience?
A. Giggle. Giggle. Ha ha. I wish I had!!!
— Prasanto K Roy (@prasanto) November 18, 2018
Totally losing the plot with her answer at this point, Preity Zinta (perhaps unintentionally) starts her whataboutery in defence of Bollywood, “If it’s this much (uses two fingers to denote the size of the problem) in the Hindi film industry, it’s that much (uses both her arms to denote size of problem) in every other industry. At least, we have a spotlight and people listen to you. But if you’re telling me that it’s not there in the business world, in politics as you can see, then it’s rubbish.”
When asked if she had faced harassment of any kind, Preity Zinta chooses the most inappropriate time to giggle and show off her famous dimples while saying, “No, I haven’t. I wish I had, so that I would have at least had something to tell you.” Zinta regains her composure and utters the most ridiculous part of her statement, “but I think people treat you the way you want to be treated” – going on to add that she had recently heard the line – “Aaj ki Sweetu kal ki #MeToo ho sakti hai”, continuing to laugh.
— Bollywood Hungama (@Bollyhungama) October 24, 2018
So here’s the thing, Ms Zinta. It’s fine that you rarely step out of your high-rise apartment, but to unnecessarily discount a majority of the cases by saying those exploited had ‘asked to be treated that way’ – isn’t too different from the victim-shaming politicians. Or the irrational elders in the society that police the victim and destroy their already-shattered self confidence, instead of taking on the perpetrator. Why would Preity Zinta become defensive and resort to whataboutery about other industries, when she was merely asked about her thoughts on #MeToo in Bollywood? No one knows. And then to ‘wish’ it upon yourself, so you would have an answer/good story to share, that’s just borderline delusional.
Another interesting part of this chat is to see the interviewer offer his two cents about false claims, is the same person who provided a half-hour special to a certain Rakhi Sawant, to advertise her preposterous allegations of ‘having been raped by Tanushree Dutta’. It’s laughable that Bollywood Hungama and Faridoon Shahriyar would still have the gall to discuss false claims and how ‘some women’ were speaking out purely for sensationalism. It doesn’t get more shamelessly ‘sensational’ than Rakhi Sawant.
I’m really suprised & upset that journalists like @iFaridoon take an interview & edit it to sound controversial for better traction. If I said “I wish someone had bothered me” – it meant I would have probable beaten them up if they had… Interviews taken out of context #Metoo
— Preity G Zinta (@realpreityzinta) November 19, 2018
Like most Bollywood stars after a brain-fart interview, Preity Zinta chose to blame the journalist for misrepresenting facts ‘for traction’. Alas, it doesn’t hold in her case. Considering she’s said everything in unedited bits of the interview. How about you check your privilege, Ms Zinta? And adopt a wider worldview? And also, show some sensitivity? Too much to ask?