Hollywood has been talking about #metoo and #timesup campaign. Is there something (similar) happening close home?
I wish there was. Unfortunately in India, there’s a lot of shame attached to it. If something happens to you, you just smile and pretend to be dumb. You just ignore it, pretend it didn’t happen because if you speak about it, you will get into more trouble. You are conditioned to think that way. It becomes a blemish on you. In India, it is so prevalent, eve teasing — we have been experiencing it since college where guys are hooting at you, that’s also harassment.
Nothing has changed.
It’s not gonna happen for a while. I don’t think so. We are hard pressed for stories, for roles. There is no equal pay. And I am not even talking about actresses. I was talking to someone, this person asked for my help. He said I am trying to hire a person — there are two people, a guy, and a girl, who is just married. She is better but she may get pregnant. And she won’t be able to work properly. This is how we still think. People hold these preconceived notions about women.
Yes, people hold these things against women.
Our conditioning is so deep and entrenched. If someone teased you at school, would you tell anybody? You will keep it to yourself. This mindset has to change. It will take a really long time. I remember when I spoke about what happened to me when I had gone to a theatre to watch a Raveena Tandon film. A man came behind me and molested me. And people said that’s not molestation. This is harassment. And somebody from my team said that why are you speaking about this, your movie is coming out.
Yes, I remember when I had said that I am a feminist, my team was like, why are you saying you are a feminist.
Because it doesn’t work for your image?
You want your women going to temples, be the girl next door, wear a sari, be pure.
Be unquestioning and accepting of everything.
It’s shocking. Such a contradiction in our country. You want to watch songs where women are gyrating to lyrics which are so suggestive, and at the same time wearing salwar kameez and doing puja.
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