In a recent interview, Elnaaz Norouzi spoke about her struggles of being an outsider in Bollywood and the allegations she placed against Vipul Shah during the #MeToo movement.
Excerpts from the interview taken from TOI, Norouzi was asked about how her journey into Bollywood started and who her first contact was, “When I came to Mumbai, I had zero contacts and I didn’t make any contact. I just came to India and I had no clue. I met a lot of people on the way; I met a lot of wrong people on the way, who promised me a lot of things. I guess it was just a journey that I cannot explain. There is no fixed formula. Everybody has their own journey and everybody has a different journey. So, I can’t really tell you who I contacted, and how did I land ‘Sacred Games’. I auditioned for the role, and they liked it, that’s a different thing. But you have to find your way everybody has to find their own way in some way. It’s not that easy.”
During the #MeToo movement Norouzi openly shared her experience and made allegations against Shah, but following this she had not said much more on the matter, asked why she had been silent Norouzi said, “(Sighs) There’s obviously not much to speak about anymore. But for me what was important was that when the movement started, and when I saw a platform to speak about what I had gone through, I took it. For me, all that was important was that I speak about it and that people know about it, that’s it. If I wanted to take any kind of action, I could have taken it before or after, or I can take it in 10 years also. This is because after the emotional distress somebody puts you through, you can’t be asked as to why didn’t you speak earlier, and why you’re telling it now. We’re humans, we go through different kinds of phases, and then we take a call. But for me, it was just important that I support the other women who are speaking up, and that I just let it out there and let people know what kind of a person I have dealt with. Now, for me, as a person, that was enough. I didn’t need to go and file a police complaint; I didn’t need to do all of that. For me, it was just enough to speak about it and to let the world know. The respected people who were spoken about also know, and now (they) know how to behave better. So, that movement alone was enough for a lot of change to happen. Sometimes all that is needed is just to speak about something and let it be. You don’t have to stretch it. I don’t want to stretch the matter further.”
Asked if she was worried about her career prospects, Norouzi said, “Yes. See, you always have that thought that in life, whenever you speak about something critical, that it might hamper your career, or your personal life. But be it in terms of my career, or personal life, I live fearlessly. If you’re scared of something, you won’t overcome or succeed. At that moment, I thought about who is Elnaaz? Elnaaz is somebody who would like to support other women in such a big movement. Because if only one woman has spoken had spoken up, and nobody else because they were scared, then the movement would not have happened, right? All the other women came in support and shared their stories and that has changed the world. Now, it has changed for the better. I’m telling you, I’m still in the industry, and I see it. The same kind of men that we used to hang around with are changed men now and that is the most beautiful thing. Imagine how many women paved the way for just by speaking up! And yes, there might have been some people who didn’t work with me because of that but then more people respect me because of that right now. They’re working with me. So I guess it’s worth it. People just see who you are; people understand the kind of person you are. And if the intentions are noble why should you not get work? That’s the kind of work I want, where it’s good to work and where you don’t have to do anything else to get the good work. So that’s all I’m getting now.”
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