The Me Too movement has taken the Hindi Film Industry by storm with people like Nana Patekar, Sajid Khan, Vikas Bahl, Karim Morani & Alok Nath being accused of sexual harassment. The movement has exposed the work culture of Bollywood and there is extreme negativity across the media taking the film industry as a whole. Right from directors, to producers to actors to casting agents have been alleged of indulging in the inhuman act. While the movement has been the talking point on social media as well as several other of news agencies, the matter hasn’t really been the discussing point on ground.
We spoke to more than 100 people at a railway station in Mumbai to know their opinion on the on-going issue, but most of them didn’t seem to bother about the ‘personal’ lives of the film-stars. To our surprise, a lot of people gave statements like “Yeh Sab Toh Industry Mein Bahut Saalo Se Chalu Hai” and “Ismain Naya Kya Hai?” and seemed unaffected by the issue. We even spoke to women on the railway station and questioned them if they would boycott the films of people who have been accused of sexual harassment, not a single lady came forward to take a stand of boycotting the films starring the people accused of harassment. The most shocking reply came when a young girl said “Nana Patekar Aur Aloknath Ke Liye Toh Main Waise Bhi Film Nai Dekhti.”
Basically, the conclusion we drew from this survey is the fact that the people outside the social media are not really taken aback by the revelations made by the industry insiders and will continue to watch the films featuring their favourite stars, irrespective of the claims made and well made films will continue to do good business irrespective of the names involved in the cast and crew.
And well, if we look back, the stars with a grey background have never really faced a backlash from the public till the time they are acting in films that entertain the audience. The films starring superstars in grey area have failed due to bad content and not due to the media made image. The personal life of stars has always been something that fascinates the people, but the controversies never really held the audience back from buying the film tickets in cinema hall. Although controversy of this magnitude has popped up for the first time since the advent of social media, we don’t think that would really have an impact on the mind of audience while standing in the Que to buy a ticket.
As big budget movies start releasing from November, the cinema maniacs will be back to the hall to experience films like Thugs Of Hindostan, 2.0, Total Dhamaal, Zero and Simmba on the big screen. The stars of these films will be celebrated by the audience and the so called ‘negative image’ of Hindi film industry will go for a toss or rather just stay retrained to the social media audience, who don’t really have a direct relation to the ticket sales in India.
As an author, my take on this entire issue is that sexual harassment and rape are two of the most inhuman acts and every person who has been proved guilty in this matter should be punished by the law and boycotted by the film industry. As seen above, the audience would not really take a stand based on personal lives of the star, it is up-to the industry to boycott the proven offenders. Every woman has the right to work in a safe environment, and every production house, actor, director should take measures to ensure safety. The people of India have enough problems in life to ponder about, and to poke nose into the third world problems is not something that would happen in a country as busy as India. The change should come from within by punishing the proven offenders, because the given the perception of industry on ground, the people in heartland of India would not take these matters seriously. We hope more and more people who have been harassed by the people from within the industry come out and share their horrifying experiences (with evidence) thereby exposing the true side of a lot of people from Bollywood.