After the global #MeToo campaign that laid bare the widespread extent of sexual harassment in the workplace or otherwise, Bollywood celebrities have decided to speak up as well. While Kalki Koechlin, Radhika Apte, Richa Chadda have been vocal about their own experience with sexual harassment in general or at work, Swara Bhaskar has now chosen to speak up about Bollywood’s casting couch. In an interview with Mumbai Mirror, Swara revealed that she too has had to face sexual harassment at the workplace at various points in the career.
With Hollywood currently under the scanner with several big-shot producers, directors and actors facing their day of reckoning after their victims have chosen to speak up. House of Cards‘ Kevin Spacey to Miramax’s ex-boss Harvey Weinstein, the media backlash for those accused of alleged sexual harassment have been lampooned by the public and media alike. This, sadly, has not spilled onto Hollywood yet.
“Actors are vulnerable because they are perennially either looking for or out of work and much too ambitious to risk their careers for a cause”, says Bhaskar when asked why Bollywood doesn’t name and shame. The Hindi film industry cannot talk about sexual misconduct yet, she believes.
When asked about her own experience of workplace harassment, Swara said, ”I’ve been propositioned by men who were in a position to cast me. I lost a few roles because I didn’t give in. There have been catcalls during shoots and eve-teasing on one of my sets. I’ve been groped by a mob during promotions and during a 56-day outdoor at a remote location, when I was still fairly new, the director harassed me with texts and dinner invites.”
‘Lose the part but don’t get on the couch’, is Swara’s recommendation to upcoming actors. Emphasizing on the need to stop shoving such issues under the rug and creating a dialogue about it instead, Swara declares that all of us are guilty of hearing rumours but not doing anything about it.
For after all, the Harvey Weinsteins of the world wouldn’t be allowed to flourish and take advantage of helpless women as they do, if those who knew but chose to ignore had done something about it.
(Source: The Mumbai Mirror)
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