Comedian-actor Bharti Singh recently opened up about coming through extreme poverty, and the initial challenges she faced in the industry as a woman.
During an interview with actor-host Maniesh Paul for his new podcast -The Maniesh Paul Podcast- Singh revealed how she used to be “inappropriately touched” by show organisers, but she lacked both the confidence and the awareness to call out the harassment.
“The coordinators (of shows) misbehaved sometimes. They would rub their hands on the back. I would know it’s not a good feeling, but then I would think that he’s like my uncle, he can’t be bad. Maybe I am wrong and he is right. So, I thought this doesn’t feel right. I had no understanding,” she said on the podcast.
“I have the confidence to fight now, for my body, for my honour. I can now say 'what is the matter, what are you looking at? go out we are changing now'. I can speak up now, but I had no courage back then," she added.
Singh also recalled living in extreme poverty, before she entered the entertainment industry. Recalling how she, along with her sister and mother sewed blankets for a living, Singh said: “Ghar jaane ka mann nahi karta tha (I didn’t feel like going home). I would stay in college with my friends, and eat at the hostel. I knew once I go back, I would have to face poverty. Live in that dim light."
She said she is still “haunted” by the noise of sewing machines, whenever she visits the costume departments.
“I have lived in that noise for 21 years. I don’t want to ever go back there. I don’t have very big dreams but I keep praying to God that I am able to sustain what I have. We have eaten salt and roti but now we have dal, sabzi and roti. I just hope my family always has at least dal to eat. I will never want to face the situation or have my family go through that,” Singh said.