Filmmaker and actor Farhan Akhtar has, at various times, voiced his opinion about lack of women safety in India, but when it comes to the film industry he seems to soften his stand. Women, who face sexual harassment at the work place often become the target themselves when they try to expose the perpetrators, same goes for the women in the Bollywood.
Just like Harvey Weinstein used to operate in Hollywood, people who abuse their position in Bollywood refuse to work with people who do not accept their advances. But Farhan refutes this premise.
“The one thing I can tell you about the film industry is that nobody goes out of their way, to not give someone work, just because they have come out honestly and spoken about something. At the end of the day, a film is all about demand and supply. You may be the greatest star in the world but if three of your films fail, people might not work with you.”
“Tomorrow if you are somebody who wants to come out and share your story, no one is going to stop your work. If people are ready to watch your film, they will continue to watch your film. Producers in this country want to work with actors who are successful, just like any other industry. I need a face to sell my soap so that more people buy my soap. Similarly, if I want to sell my idea, story or film, the person that I feel is best suited and the audience will love, you will try to get him,” says Farhan.
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In the past few days actresses like Vidya Balan, Swar Bhaskara and Kalki Koechlin are opening up about sexual harassment in the film industry, but no one is ready to name the culprits. Recently actor Parvathy (who makes her Bollywood debut in Qarib Qarib Singlle) said that if she names the people who indulge in casting couch she will face a lot of rejection. Farhan who started a forum MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination), says that the industry has condemned people who have indulged in sexual harassment.
“If that person has come out and spoken about harassment, doesn’t mean I won’t cast that person in my film. They are two completely different things and should not be confused together. What we have seen in reverse is that when somebody has come out about people who have harassed them, there has been a reaction to it. Maybe it was not the one that you expect but there have been reactions. If someone has something to share, this is the perfect platform to come out. You will be doing yourself and other a favour by coming out and speaking. We are here to highlight and talk about the issue, and through this try to get rid of it. I don’t have all the solutions just yet, let’s work together and try to solve this problem,” urges Farhan.
This subject was raised during the launch for his new campaign ‘Bas Ab Bahut Ho Gaya’ in collaboration with Population foundation of India. Present at the event was director Feroz Abbas Khan who talked about the power an ordinary woman who is managed to fight against a film actor.
“There was one maid servant who came out and destroyed an actor’s career. That women had everything to lose and she still stood up. People from the film industry should come up and speak. But this power should not be limited to the film industry, it should be given to women all across the world,” adds Feroz.