Opening up about sexual harassment in the Hindi film industry, actor Divya Dutta says she lost on many movies because she refused to compromise for work. In an interview to indianexpress.com, Divya Dutta said that today’s woke environment might have enabled female actors to open about their experiences with molestation and sexual favours asked in Bollywood, but, sadly, the identity of their abusers remain a mystery because women will lose out on work if they start taking names.
The question to Divya, counted among the most brilliant actors and opinionated women in Bollywood, was posed in the wake of veteran actor Daisy Irani’s recent revelation about being raped more than 50 years ago during a film shoot by a man assigned as her guardian.
“Now, everyone has started talking about it. Yes, they are not naming people, and I am sure they have their reasons not to name because you need a huge amount of unity to take names as no one wants to get secluded from work or be told to be out of the system,” said Divya.
The actor, known for her stupendous performances in films like Bhaag Milka Bhaag, Dilli-6 and Badlapur, said she knows many people in the industry, who had no option but to compromise for work and later went through “a lot of shit.”
“A lot of people have admitted that these things happen. C’mon, we are not kids. We all know that whenever there are opportunities, there will be these kinds of things. But I do feel that at the end of the day, if you can, I mean if you are not in a very vulnerable situation, you do have choices.
“In my position, I have had choices and I made them. But I have seen people, who have no choice, and they have gone through lot of shit. But who is going to stand with them? You will probably make a statement and move on. And then there are left on their own journey.
“It is sad. What we do is we ask them to speak but are we giving them a back-up? When you have a back-up, I am sure a lot of people will speak,” she added.
When asked if she was ever propositioned at work, Divya said her refusal resulted in the loss of many film roles, which went to actors who were ready to compromise.
“I will be lying if I say no. Every woman has been propositioned at some point or the other. But I was never directly propositioned but I lost a lot of movies because I didn’t have a sugar daddy and somebody else did.
“But it’s a process of learning. I am glad it didn’t happen (to her) because today, I am in a very different position. And it wouldn’t have happened if I had a different journey,” said the actor.