5 Indian Actresses Who Spoke Up About Sexual Harassment Before #MeToo

Photo: feminisminindia.com

The ‘Me Too’ movement caught the wind in the Hollywood industry when actresses came forward and shared incidents they had faced. Sexually harassing, abusing and molestation is common in the Bollywood industry, but some days ago actress ‘Tanushree Dutta’ returned from the USA, and shared some dark incidents which compelled her to move there for 10 long years.

She accused actor ‘Nana Patekar’ publicly on Zoom TV during an interview. The incident took place on the sets of ‘Horn OK Pleassss’. This is not just it, Bollywood’s famous dance choreographer ‘Ganesh Acharya’ supported Nana Patekar at that time, when the ‘Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’, sent goons to bash up the actress’s car. There is a whole video on the social media of how her car is being bashed up. If it is to be thought that why she did not complain at that time when the incident happened in the year of 2008, the actress alleged Patekar in the same year and also filed a complaint with the ‘Cine and TV Artists Association’ (CINTAA). The usual course repeated, no action was taken against the accused and Dutta become a victim of it. This is such a thing which requires lots of courage to speak up. Many Bollywood celebrities have come forward and supported the ‘Aashiq Banaya Apne’ actress.

She is not the only one but after this incident, many actresses have talked about their experiences in the industry and courageously spoke about how they have been harassed sexually.

Before the #MeToo campaign took off,  some actresses had spoken up.

1) Tabu:

Tabu | Photo: toledoblade.com

Only a very few people know that she has had horrifying incidents in the Bollywood industry. She was just a teenager when she had to go through all this. This was the time in 1987 when Tabu’s sister, Farah was shooting with actor Jackie Shroff and Danny Denzongpa, ‘Diljalaa’. After the shooting, the whole unit used to sit and chill in Danny’s house. Farah had brought her sister Tabu along at his house. Jackie Shroff who saw her for the very first time was under the influence of alcohol and drugs. This was the time when Shroff saw ‘Tabu’ alone in a room, grabbed her and forced himself upon her. This whole incident was seen by Danny Dengzongpa and he saved Tabu, according to a report in Dailyhunt. No complaint was filed by Farah or Tabu because Tabu decided to let it all go.

2) Rekha:

Photo: The Indian Express

She is one of the oldest actresses in the Bollywood industry. Rekha in her early days in the industry faced sexual assault while shooting for a movie. At the age of 15, Rekha was publicly assaulted by her co-actor, Vishwajeet. There was a specific shot in the film when Rekha was grabbed by Vishwajeet, and he kissed the actress forcefully for 5 minutes. The whole shot was taken in front of many people. The whole incident has been written in the actresses biography  ‘Rekha: An Untold Story’.

3) Swara Bhaskar:

Photo: news18.com

She is one of the boldest actresses we have in the industry. Bhaskar is very candid about the sexual harassment cases and casting couch happening in the Bollywood industry. According to Swara, this is the reality in the industry where young women are pressured into performing sexual acts to get roles in movies. Swara said in an interview, “It is always very subtle people try to insinuate that there are 10,000 girls for one role – so what can you do? … I have lost roles. I know directors who won’t answer my calls because I made it clear I would not get into that relationship situation. According to a report in Desibliltz, the actress called out to a director who harassed for her role, she said that “He stalked me during the day and called me through the night. I was asked to go to his hotel room on the pretext of discussing the scene and would find him drinking.”

The environment for the actresses is not at all safe when they’re shooting for movies outdoors. During the shooting of her movie ‘Anarkali of Arrah’, the actress stated that she had been groped, and also was a victim of horrible catcalls at the time of the shooting.

4) Kangana Ranaut:

Photo: indianexpress.com

She has been a prey of such terrible incidents many times. But one thing we love about her is that she does not shy away from speaking about the incidents she faces. Recently, the ‘MeToo’ movement is in the air in India and many females are coming up and sharing their experiences on social media. More and more people are coming out and supporting them. Kangana Ranaut recently highlighted an issue which she faced with ‘Vikas Bahl’ the director of Queen. As per a report in the Times of India, “He bragged about having casual sex with a new partner every other day. I don’t judge people and their marriages but you can tell when addiction becomes a sickness. He partied every night and shamed me for sleeping early and not being cool enough. I often told him off. He was scared of me but still every time we met, socially greeted and hugged each other, he’d bury his face in my neck and hold me really tight and breathe in the smell of my hair. It took me a great amount of strength and effort to pull myself out of his embrace and he’d say, ‘I love how you smell K…’.”

Vikas Bahl has been dropped out of the promotion material of his film ‘Super 30’ which stars Hrithik Roshan. His name has been removed from Kabir Khan’s ‘83’ which stars Ranveer Singh. This is not just it the India Film and Television Director’s Association has also sent him a show cause notice.

Before this, Kangana had openly spoken up about her abusive relationship with Aditya Pancholi.

5) Sri Reddy:

Photo: tamil.public.tv

She is a Telugu artist who had recently staged a protest and stripped, to get justice for the sexual abuse she faced. She stripped herself in the middle of the road, bare-chested, outside the Movie Artists Association (MAA). Reddy had been voicing over them since a fortnight but no action was taken, and here she states, “This is the only way I can get them to listen to me. I have had to strip myself nude in front of several people in the film industry who promised work. Yet, I got no roles. I have been shouting from the rooftops about the injustice that has been meted out to me and several other women in the film industry and yet, I have not got any response from MAA. So I decided to strip publicly.”

She has even publicly posted the chats of her with Suresh Babu’s son ‘Abhiram Daggubati’. Also, there are pictures where he is seen kissing Sri Reddy.

In an interview with News 18, she claimed that “Suresh Babu’s son cheated me so badly. The studio belongs to the government and it is meant to help and support talented people. They have to use it in a proper way. This Suresh Babu’s son took me to the studio and f****d me so badly in the studio only.”

Many actresses are coming forward and revealing big names from the Bollywood fraternity about sexual harassment, abuse, and molestation. Will the ‘MeToo’ movement make the workplaces safer for women?

Samyak Sheth
Samyak Sheth

A traveller and journalist who views the world wearing multi-coloured goggles. He believes that life is to live not to survive.

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