Actress Huma Qureshi says people in India have a tendency to intimidate a woman when she opens up about sexual harassment, making her feel like an offender instead of a victim. She feels there is a need to create a safer and comfortable environment for women.
“To be honest, sexual harassment at work place is not being managed well. We often have a tendency to intimidate or talk against a woman when she speaks out on sexual harassment as if she is the offender not the man,” Huma told IANS in interview over the phone from Mumbai.
“We need to change the environment where more women feel safer and more comfortable to talk about who is harassing them. It is our responsibility as a society,” she added.
The actress, who opened up about facing sexual advances from people associated with showbiz and different professions, said men need to be part of the dialogue to bring a change.
“I am a feminist. When I say I am feminist, I mean an equal world. I don’t believe in an unequal world. An equal world can be created when men and women come together.
“We cannot do this without the men. We need good, strong male role models as well…So that other men have role model to follow. It has to be done together.”
When it comes to gender equality in the industry, she said, “The problem will go away when we talk about women working behind the scene. There were female actors, but there were few female technicians, women directors, editors, camera person. Today, I see a lot more women working behind the camera.
“It creates a far more safer environment.”
From “Gangs of Wasseypur”, “Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana”, “Ek Thi Daayan”, “Dedh Ishqiya” to “Jolly LLB 2“, Huma takes up strong female characters in films.
From Shah Rukh Khan to Salman Khan to Anushka Sharma, there are many actors who are expanding their horizons by coming out with production houses. And Huma feels getting into production is the “next logical step” for every actor.
“As an actor, that is the next logical step because all actors — men or women — have certain shelf life and we have to wait for the right script and right project to come to us. It is very important as an artiste to generate work for ourself…We don’t need to be main protagonist all the time but just to be able to find interesting stuff.
“It is amazing that men and women are getting into production and creating extremely interesting content.”
The game has changed with digital platforms like Netflix and Amazon, says Huma.
“You need not rely on theatrical release. You need not be dependent on the hit or flop aspect. You can just create a work of art and that is so liberating and amazing.”
So, when is she stepping into production?
“Well, keep your eyes and ears open,” she said with a chuckle.
Asked about her next project, she said, “Going through some. I will let everyone know when it is confirmed.”