With a positive change starting in India by the introduction of the #MeToo campaign, the centre of attraction has been the Indian Film Industry. Many big names have surfaced with the movement gaining momentum and working women from the industry have received a lot of support from Bollywood and media. With personalities such as Vikas Bahl, Sajid Khan Kailash Kher and Alok Nath and others amongst the accused, everybody’s attention is focused on Bollywood and who will next be brought into the public eye.
With the support that the movement is getting, many Bollywood actors have spoken out and have shown their support to the victims. Raveena Tandon is one actress who has spoken about the #MeToo movement quite openly and has taken a strong stand against sexual harassment at work places by men.
Tandon recently spoke with Pinkvilla about her own experiences over the years with men from the Industry and shared her take on #MeToo movement in India, and how it has brought about a change in the mind-sets of men in Bollywood.
When asked for her take on the fact that a number of women have come out against many big names from the industry, Tandon said, “I tell people, Der Aaye, Durust Aaye. Never too late for this to happen. In fact, India had the opportunity to have their #MeToo movement many, many years ago before it started in Hollywood or in America because our women have been speaking out ever since. Unfortunately, I believe that there was no solid support for them whether it was through even the media, I am sorry but I hold the Media responsible also big for it. They never paid that kind of attention to stories like this. That would have made a world of a difference even then. But, like I said, that it is great that we have the media support today and we didn’t have support earlier from organisations or unions bodies as well. Because everyone lived in certain fear. But now, like I said, it’s never too late and the support we have now is overwhelming. And I also feel that there are a lot more women in our workplaces. Be it camera women or women editors or director or choreographers, there are more women in the workplaces and thus, the movement has a lot more strong hold and it’s not completely biased and male-dominated.“
When asked if she had ever felt uncomfortable whilst working in a certain environment or people during her many years in the film industry, Tandon replied, “You know, I have been lucky enough and I have been fortunate that I haven’t been sexually harassed. Yes, there is a difference between sexual harassment and being flirted with or someone making a pass at you. I hope people learn to differentiate between that. Yes, I have been made passes at and I have been wooed and flirted with. I think that is normal and that is not only in my industry. That is a normal thing to happen, But Sexual harassment hasn’t happened with me. I think everyone knew that I was the kind of who would name and shame someone right away and No one really mess with me. Yes, I can say that certain amount of professional harassment has happened with me and I have been speaking about it ever since.”