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Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
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Let #Notme Break The Clouds

#MeToo may never transform Bollywood—but women who evaded the trap of exploitation and became stars can make a difference by speaking out

Let #Notme Break The Clouds
Stung |
Let #Notme Break The Clouds
outlookindia.com
2018-05-31T11:11:45+05:30

Think again. Do you really think women in the film industry—stars who have made it; starlets who are waiting for their turn; dancers and extras, the hopefuls who are chasing the stardust—will come together for a #MeToo moment and join voices to expose the minefield of violations that lies hidden beneath the glamorous veneer of the film industry? Fat chance. Exploitation is a password that everyone in the industry knows, and many use to their advantage. When the prize is a package that delivers money, fame and logic-­defying adulation, and the competition is relentless, silence is the name of the game.

I have seen how the silence game is played, in some measure. When the mother of an aspiring actress tells her daughter at a party to find a seat beside a well-known director and “be nice to him”, I have seen the silent looks that pass between the hesitant girl and the mother before she gets up to do as bidden. It is the first of many silences that will follow. I have seen it in the eloquent looks a director kept sending towards a heroine, a married woman, whom the press has written off as a has-been because of her marriage. I watched her silent confusion when he approached her and drew her aside for an intense conversation. I have no idea what transpired after that evening, but, yes, she did get her first big role post-marriage in a film dir­ected by him. And I have seen male stars approach pretty young things waiting to be noticed, throwing them into a flurry of blushing and giggles, as the first step to a seduction ­routine that could lead anywhere.

Every entrant into films, anywhere in the world, knows she is entering a man’s world, where the power to make or break rests in the hands of a man—an agent, a director, a producer or even, as we all know, a male star. Beauty is the first key that opens the...

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