While Hollywood is rocked by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, things are not that different in Bollywood as many B-town celebrities came in open to talk about the sexual abuse in the entertainment industry. Weinstein has been in news following a New York Times and the New Yorker expose of his alleged sexual misconduct. More than 50 women including likes of Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lupita Nyong’o and Kate Beckinsale have detailed their encounter with the disgraced Hollywood producer.
This is what some of them had to say
Without taking names, actor Irrfan Khan, 50, said he has been at the receiving end of such proposals.
“It has happened with me a lot of times. It won’t be good to take names but a lot of times it has been hinted to me and sometimes I have been told clearly that if I compromise I’ll get the job. But now it doesn’t happen,” he said during a media interaction here.
Irrfan said such things are tricky, especially when they come from the people one knows.
“It (invitation) has come from both, males and females.
It becomes slightly weird because when people you know and respect a lot, give you such offers, you feel that the dynamics of the relationship will change. That’s the sad part.
But I have the power to accept or refuse them.”
Irrfan, who has worked in major Hollywood projects such as “Jurassic World” and “Life of Pi”, said anything that happens without mutual consent should be condemned.
“You do experience these things. A person might propose ‘If you sleep with me I’ll give you work’, but you have the power to say no. Such indications are given to both men and women, but women face it more. Yes, if it is happening without consent or forcefully, then it’s extremely saddening,” he said.
“If there is a person who is repeatedly doing these things, he must be exposed. It’s necessary to talk about him.”
The actor said the way a person behaves is also a reflection of the society.
“To sexually exploit someone is a disease in itself. It reflects the dynamics of our society – that it’s sexually supressed. As far as sexual exploitations go, the one who has more power, will exploit the other gender.
“… Exploitation is not the key factor, it’s the suppression. People should be allowed to mingle. The government or any other body is no one to pass judgements,” he added.
He was speaking at the song launch of his latest film “Qarib Qarib Singlle”.
Richa Chadha says outsiders are often advised to date actors and cricketers to create an image at the beginning of their career.
The actor says when she was a newcomer, she was advised to do the same but she refused.
“When I came to the industry, one PR person told me, ‘Send a text message to this actor. Go on a date with him’.
And I said, ‘But he is married!’ then this person said, ‘Why didn’t you send a message to this cricketer? It would have been good for your career, for your PR and public image’,” Richa says in an interview.
“I can’t date anyone on a transactional basis. These are the kind of advice I used to get, these are the things that people tell you when you are from outside world. That’s why I have very few friends in the industry,” she says.
Though she made her debut with Dibakar Banerjee’s “Oye Lucky Lucky Oye”, her breakthrough performance was Anurag Kashyap’s “Gangs of Wasseypur”.
Recalling her initial days, the 32-year-old actor says she managed all on her own without an entourage.
“When I did ‘Gangs…’ I didn’t have a manager, a PR or stylist. There were times when I was told that today we have a success party in the evening, and I would be like okay,” she says.
“And then I would go to a mall in Juhu, buy a dress, wear it there, go to a salon on the ground floor of that mall, do some make-up; that’s how I was managing then,” she says.
For Richa, it’s these issues which outsiders face – having no one to give a sound advice.
“This is what people don’t understand about people who come from outside. We don’t have anyone guiding us about these things. We have no inroads into the industry.
“For us at least in the initial stage, there is no grooming, there are no advisors to tell us ‘don’t do this, or do this’, or that this film will get typecast, or this film will be good for you. You just make your own way here, so it takes time,” she says.
Kalki Koechlin says there are women who face sexual abuse in the film industry but people often turn a blind eye to them as they are not famous or successful.
“I don’t think we provide an environment to our women to speak up about sexual abuse,” Kalki said.
“We only listen to people once they are successful or famous. There are a lot of women who are at the struggling stages of their career who talk about these things but no one will listen to their story.”
The actor said people are interested in listening to someone only when they become famous.
The 33-year-old actor, however, says instead of “harping” on an incident that happened in Los Angeles, one should take responsibility for what is happening in the country.
“We are harping on the Harvey Weinstein issue which happened in LA while we have our own issues — the incidents at High Spirits in Pune, or the TVF incident (its CEO Arunabh Kumar was accused of molesting a woman).
“You hear about these things for half a day and then it is gone. We need to take responsibility for our own stories. I feel it’s about time we start listening to them.”
Vidya spoke about how women don’t feel safe while addressing the sexual harassment matters.
Vidya, who has established that women characters in movies can be more than just being an object of glamour, was recently asked about her take on the Harvey Weinstein episode. In response, the much sought-after actor of Bollywood told BollywoodLife.com, “You know it is quite shocking to see that Harvey Weinstein has been an abuser for so many years and no one spoke about it till the NY Times piece broke… He is one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood, someone whose work we’ve all admired but to think that even the most powerful female actors chose to keep silent on the matter for decades is a reflection of how women, however successful they maybe, don’t feel safe addressing sexual harassment.”
Priyanka slammed Weinstein and spoke about women empowerment at the 2017 Marie Claire Power Trip earlier this week, reports marieclaire.com.
Asked whether there’s a Harvey Weinstein in India, Priyanka said: “I don’t think there is only a Harvey Weinstein in Hollywood. I think there will be a lot more stories that will come up.
“That happens not just in India, but all over the world. It’s the power of men trying to take away the power of women. It’s about feeling powerful and macho.”
“We watch the news and look for things that will be positive and that the world will be in a better place. But the reality is, the world is not. It’s not just about sexuality. It’s not about sex. It’s about power,” Priyanka said.
The former Miss World also spoke against the “big boys’ club” and said because of it women are scared that a misstep might put them at risk of losing a role.
“It’s an isolating feeling. The easiest thing to take away from a woman is her work,” she said.