Bollywood’s resident gender rights activist who has never shied away from speaking about women’s issue, Kalki Koechlin, in a recent interview with BBC has explained why women in Bollywood do not talk about sexual harassment. A topic that has dominated the latter half of 2017, starting with women calling out Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein, was responsible in starting the revolutionary #MeToo campaign.
“People don't listen to you if you’re a nobody. If you’re a celebrity and you talk about it, it only becomes a shocking headline,” Kalki said.
At a time when many women and men are standing up against sexual harassment, Bollywood, an industry that has been riddled by sexual misconducts, seems to have very less of its #MeToo moments. Upon asked why there’s a dearth of women standing up against harassment, Kalki retorts, “It is a very difficult step to take. Because it’s their career on the line. You are dealing with hundreds of people throwing their opinions at you. It can really shake a person emotionally.”
“I know several girls who are newcomers in Bollywood – struggling, going for auditions, who are constantly being discriminated because of the way they look,” the Dev D actor said. She even said that that women are subject to body shaming. They even get calls at 2 am in the morning, she claims, from their casting director, which the actor said, are not reported or researched as “there is no big name to headline it.”
She said men are clueless about the harassment that women go through as women go through it on a daily basis, they don’t even think about it and they’ve become numb to it.
Kalki herself doesn’t choose to talk about her personal experiences as she feels that it becomes headlines and that’s too much pressure on her emotionally.
The actor also advices that women need to have a support group, either online, friends, family or a therapist.
“Both men and women should be having a dialogue with each other, not against each other,” she concludes.