So, there were quite a few skeletons in the closet! Now that some of them are out in the open, I am sure it will give women the courage to pull out some more. India’s #MeToo movement has disclosed some shocking facts and I am going to talk about them at two levels.
Just yesterday I received a meme on WhatsApp mocking the allegations made by Tanushree Dutta after a gap of ten long years. That leads me to announce that we as a society love to live in denial of all things that are wrong with us. The moment someone points a finger at us, we come out with full fledged family sagas (read Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Hum Saath Saath Hain). What is ironical is that these films are the epitome of ‘goodness’ and yet they are seeped in the biggest controversies (not so sanskaaris playing the sanskaari bugle and of course the infamous black buck).
So, what exasperated me about this meme is the fact that someone out of us has found humour in the emotional, psychological and physical turmoil of another individual. Talk of sadism! Well, to make things straight and clear, this meme business is proof enough why the woman was quiet for that long. Because when a woman speaks up, all she gets are these memes!
Coming back to my point about the ‘blissful state of denial’ that we love to live in. If your senior at work is taking a bribe, well it’s none of your business- so deny it. Basically, faking ignorance is as good as denying that something wrong is happening right there- under your nose. Do you have a creepy friend? Keep an arms distance, ignore and deny! That is exactly what Anurag Kashyap and gang did. And that is absolutely what we are doing by forwarding nasty jokes and memes on such a serious issue.
Next, I would like to speak about the authenticity of these allegations. My female friends would agree that maybe once in a while they have felt uncomfortable of a male gaze, or an inappropriate gesture, somebody brushing against them deliberately and yet they have chosen to walk away, not talk about it at that moment or share the incident in hushed tones with other women. Reasons have varied from fear of being ostracised to not being understood to spoiling relations etc. etc. But in any case, that should make us women at least a little more empathetic to our counterparts because somewhere we have shared this emotion. I wonder then why should we women libel other women and not trust them (read Sonam Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut)?
Finally, it is time to stop hero worship of these Bollywood actors and stop believing that they are not fallible. Definitely, it is wrong to generalise. But as I said before, being in a state of denial is as good as being a part of the crime. This takes me back to the day when Salman Khan was granted bail by a court for running over some helpless people sleeping on the road and all News channels showed this scene outside his house where people were playing dhols and there was celebration galore! I think a certain Miss World was also harassed by him on several occasions. And yet, our forever state of denial- as if nothing ever happened! He has managed to rake in monies and sorry, ‘Being Human’ may have impressed the courts, not me!
Just before I conclude, I have a suggestion for the upcoming season of ‘Koffee with Karan’. How about talking about blowing the lid off this time, rather than focussing on cat-fights and showing rootless camaraderie? It’s time Karan Johar should think of giving the hamper to women like Tanushree and finally making some sensible contribution to Indian cinema!