Kalki Koechlin is one rare actress who has always been vocal about things that matter. This time, in an interview with BBC, the actress has laid bare an ugly truth about Bollywood and the way it works. If you may recall, the hashtag #MeToo rocked the world when women across ages and across fields, joined force to talk about sexual harassment that they have faced at home, college or work or while outside. A lot of international celebrities also came out with their stories. But Kalki feels that there can never be a #MeToo like campaign that will be lead by Bollywood stars.
You would be wrong to think that sexual harassment doesn’t exists in tinsel ville to be the reason behind it. Talking about why Bollywood stars aren’t speaking up about sexual abuse and why they would never do that, Kalki said, “Because their career is on the line.” She further states that even if one was supposed to rise above all that is at stake and call out the names of an individual or people who are at the forefront of asking for sexual favours in return of a job, “they would have to deal with opinions and judgments thrown at them.” ALSO READ: Aziz Ansari On Sexual Assault Allegations: Believed It Was Completely Consensual
In that scenario, are we in a ‘iss raat ki subah nahin’ kind of situation where abusers go on doing what they know best while the vulnerable keep getting exploited? Not at all! Kalki has a solution to tackle this problem and ensure that women are not discriminated against. “Both men and women should be having a dialogue with each other, not against each other,” says Kalki, adding that we need support groups – be it friends, family, colleagues, a therapist.
Kalki made an interesting point in the video where she said that most men are unaware that almost all women have been sexually harassed at some point or the other. It reminds me of a quote by Salman Khan at an event late last year. The actor was asked if he had ever come across someone who was a sexual abuser or was a survivor. The Khan had said, “The condition that you need to sleep with me to get a job done is the most disgusting thing possible.” He had also said that he has not come across any such casting couch incident but if he does, he would take the person to the cleaners. In hindsight of Kalki’s statement, we can’t help but wonder if most men, like Salman, are actually clueless about how bad the scenario really is for women in our society.
While the truth remains that while actresses like Sonam Kapoor, Richa Chaddha, Alia Bhatt, and a few others have spoken about being sexually assaulted as kids, or about how rampant it is, and while time and again we have people talking about the existence of casting couch in Bollywood, no big star ever has named any person in such case. And that’s where the problem lies as Kalki says, “till there is no name to headline such an incident, little can be done about it.” Let’s hope the situation does change … someday soon.