As the accused return to normalcy the question remains, did the #MeToo movement exist only on social media?

MeToo movement in India certainly gained momentum when former Miss India Tanushree Dutta, took the lead in naming and shaming renowned personalities on the Bollywood front, accusing them of sexual harassment. The move garnered attention across social media and what we saw was a diction of horrifying ordeals.

Many women came forward in revealing their encounters of sexual misconduct at workplaces. The headlines were filled with terms like alleged, accused, probe and more. Now, with 8 months gone by, we saw many from the list of accused making a comeback in their respective professions. Here’s our take to understand if the MeToo movement has been done and dusted by Bollywood.

History has witnessed ‘Log Kya Kahenge’ for ages, despite of which Women have come forth and are fighting for being pinned down mentally and physically. Biding adieu to ‘badnaami’, the MeToo movement saw a Tsunami of stories that gave us goose bumps. Are we tired? Maybe not, but seems like certain establishments are, and look forward in making things back to normal.

Recently, reports suggested that renowned music composer and singer Anu Malik who was named in the movement, will return to the singing reality show Indian Idol for its new season. For those uninitiated, Malik was dropped by the makers after being accused of harassment by Shweta Pandit.

The allegations in any of these cases were never proven on legal terms, but the accused did face backlash in personal and professional arena. While the entire media lauded the channel for its decision over Malik, wouldn’t taking him back mock the idea of not associating with artists who are still under the scanner?

About a week ago, comedy collective AIB released a statement updating fans over Tanmay Bhat’s suspension in October. The move was taken following complaints of not acting against sexual harassment allegations made regarding Utsav Chakraborty. AIB, in its recent post, said, “As a result, even though Tanmay Bhat’s suspension has been lifted, he will no longer hold a position of CEO,” read the statement.

Demoting from a higher position is the worst way to deal with this issue. However, since Bhat was not directly involved in the matter, we can subside the fact for him still being in a workplace that gave out many MeToo stories. We wonder if it will be the same though.

When Ajay Devgn released the trailer of his romantic comedy ‘De De Pyar De’, which also featured Alok Nath, fans were not impressed by the actor’s double standards. Ajay during the peak of MeToo had mentioned he or his company would never associate when anyone accused of sexual harassment. In this scenario, Devgn said, “This is not the right place to talk about it. Jinki aap baat kar rahe hai woh film uske pehle complete hui (the film was complete before the allegations surfaced against the person).”

Clearly not impressed with Ajay’s excuse for having a rape accused on board. If the film was completed before the allegations, why not make the necessary changes and then release it? But wait, when it comes to money, morals can go for a toss.

In December 2018, filmmaker Sajid Khan was suspended by Indian Film and Television Director’s Association (IFTDA) for a year. This move was a result of multiple women alleging the director of sexually inappropriate behaviour. The one year suspension will come to an end in six months. What’s next? Will any journalist interview this filmmaker? Would an actress audition for a Sajid Khan film? Time will tell.

With many among the allegedly accused making their comeback, has the MeToo Movement in India only limited itself to responding backlash over social media? Their only escape can be the so called stringent laws at workplace, or a committee that looks into such matters and works for creating a safe environment for women. Are content creators and producers so helpless that a person accused of sexual misconduct cannot be replaced by the abundant talent that nestles in India?

Think about it, the Indian judicial podium has not created an environment for women to speak out and aloud. Be it rape, molestation, domestic violence or sexual harassment in this case. Social media on the other hand provided that medium to deliver. A movement so powerful, it shook the entire nation, and now we intend to normalise and belittle it with mediocre suspensions and shaky decisions. To those who still intend to forgive and forget, grow a spine, think rational, because women have had enough.

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