From savagery and badgering to the orientation pay hole and terrorizing, misuse is broadly announced. But who is listening?
At the point when the 2005 Bollywood show Aashiq Banaya Aapne (You have made me your sweetheart) was delivered, seeing actual closeness on screen in Indian cinemas was not normal.
In a now-famous song sequence, the central characters are seen kissing in the movie.
Tanushree Dutta, the lead actress in the movie and a former Miss Universe finalist, was cast in several movies after the movie, where her characters were expected to dance suggestively and wear revealing clothing.
She tells Al Jazeera, “I’d often wonder, Angelina Jolie can be a sex symbol in a film like Gia and still win awards for it.” Why don’t these idiots understand?”
While filming a dance scene in 2008, one of her co-actors allegedly touched her in an inappropriate manner. She complained to the choreographer and director, but they insisted she continue filming and threatened her with consequences if she didn’t.
The director and choreographer called Dutta “unprofessional” and “uncooperative” after she left the set.
As Dutta’s car was vandalized, a right-wing politician, who is said to be close to the perpetrator, demanded that she be blacklisted.
Shortly thereafter, Dutta stopped performing and spent years recovering from the trauma before eventually moving to the United States.
Dutta told a few journalists about the incident in September while he was in India.
Her interviews were widely shared. Many of her peers and users of social media expressed solidarity and shared stories of abuse, intimidation, and widespread sexism.
The media sector suffered the most. A number of comedians, actors, journalists, and filmmakers were “outed” for their predatory and misogynistic behavior.
“I’ve been rehashing a similar story beginning around 2008,” Dutta told Buzzfeed news. ” People’s sudden desire to listen is the only thing that has altered.
Similar to Hollywood, physical and sexual harassment is common in Bollywood.
Prior to Dutta, well-known actresses like superstar Zeenat Aman from the 1970s and Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan from 1994 had shared harrowing personal accounts.
At the time, these stories sparked heated debate, but little was done to put things right. Salman Khan, Rai Bachchan’s former co-star and partner who allegedly assaulted her, is still one of India’s highest-paid actors.
Survivors are typically fired or threatened with legal action and a professional boycott.
For instance, in a bizarre development last year, veteran choreographer Saroj Khan stated that “casting couch” behavior, which involves offering women work in the industry in exchange for sexual favors, was widespread in Bollywood, but that it was also one way to make a living.
She stated, “At least they [the rapists] don’t leave someone after raping them.”
Dutta states: I had observed at parties that girls would do anything to establish themselves in Bollywood. They would assume that they had no choice but to do this.
She adds that because she didn’t listen to the powerful, she was called arrogant.
She professes to have missed out on a film with a main creation house after the projecting specialists saw as her “cold and stood up”.
“The experience of women is undervalued”
An investigation of Wikipedia sections on 4,000 Bollywood motion pictures somewhere in the range of 1970 and 2017 by IBM and two Delhi-based associations showed that male characters are referenced almost two times however many times as their female partners.
Female characters are generally depicted as “gorgeous” and “alluring” though men are “areas of strength for classified” “fruitful”.
The study found that men were more likely to kill or shoot, whereas the majority of women marry or date.
The male protagonist stalking, bullying, and berating his lover is a common romantic storyline trope, and they end up living happily ever after.
In 2015, a man who was accused of stalking an Indian expat living in Australia argued that Bollywood had made it seem “quite normal” for men like him to obsess over their desire.
The man only received a restraining order after the judge was persuaded.
The #MeToo movement, according to filmmaker, columnist, and gender rights activist Paromita Vohra, was just waiting to happen.
According to what she stated to Al Jazeera, “typically, women’s experience is undervalued.” On the other hand, “for the first time, a large number of women were speaking up, naming names, and overcoming the shame associated with being a victim.”
Bhanwari Devi’s gang rape by upper caste men in 1992 sparked self-reflection, which continued with numerous criminal and legal cases until the 2012 gang rape of a medical student in New Delhi.
Nearly 1.2 million #MeToo tweets were sent in the month that followed Dutta’s interview, many of which came from India.
Vohra asserts, “The algorithm associated joined points of commonality and produced filter bubbles.” Therefore, you realized when you shared that it affects everyone, not just you.
A union minister who was accused of harassment was forced to resign, a production company that was accused of complicity was disbanded, and the film artists’ union finally established a sexual harassment committee to look into allegations last month.
Bollywood’s productions in recent years have reflected shifting attitudes.
According to an Oxfam India study conducted in 2016, “a decisive turn for women-centric and socially themed films” occurred despite the fact that numerous films continue to objectify women.
Al Jazeera was informed by Rachel Dwyer, professor of Indian Cultures and Studies at SOAS, University of London: A Bollywood heroine can now be perceived as significantly more sexually active, which is one of the major shifts that have occurred in recent years. She goes to parties, has multiple partners, and makes mistakes. She is not viewed negatively.
There are also strong female leads in historical fiction films and stories about female sporting talents in other Indian films.
Dutta claims that since she stopped making movies, a lot has changed.
However, despite featuring a number of mainstream actresses, hit song sequences known as “item songs” continue to objectify women and the gender wage gap persists. Top actors still get to choose which actress they work with.
According to Dutta, “An actress can run around trees, do an item song, and have a [serious] role in the same film.” Each item occupies its own space. You are not required to judge.