I was molested when I was younger: Sonam Kapoor

The Neerja actress recalls a horrific incident while watching a film with friends in a theatre.

Mayur Lookhar

This year saw films like Shivaay and Kahaani 2 bring to the big screen the dark reality of child abuse. At the annual roundtable with actresses, Rajeev Masand invited Sonam Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Anushka Sharma, Alia Bhatt and Radhika Apte for a conversation. 

On a question about the role that changed her perspective, Sonam Kapoor opened up about being molested when she was younger. Balan had mentioned that child abuse incidents were not the end of life. Kapoor then revealed a horror story that took place at the famed Gaiety-Galaxy theatres. 

"Everybody goes through some sort of sexual abuse in their childhood. I know, I have been molested when I was younger. It was traumatising. I remember the incident so clearly. I went to watch a Raveena Tandon and Akshay Kumar film with my friends to Gaiety-Galaxy. We were all 13-14 then," said Kapoor. 

Elaborating on the episode further, Kapoor said, "We used to hold each other's shoulders while walking in. Being the tallest, I was the last in the row. It was my friend Ekta's birthday. As we walked in, there was a man who came from behind and just held my breasts. I didn’t have breasts at the time. I started shaking and shivering, not knowing what was going on. I started crying there. I didn’t speak about it to anyone then. We just finished watching the film. I felt as if I’d done something wrong."

Sharma also stepped in at this moment and said, "There are several such incidents in life where you have been inappropriately touched and you don't think of it because you don’t know how to react, you're in shock."

Kapoor said, "The reaction is such because you don’t really hear about this (molestation) enough. I don't think a lot of parents speak to their kids about it."

While she herself hasn’t experienced molestation, Sharma was often confounded by the tricky queries of her mother. "I grew up in an army background. A friend of mine was molested. I heard about it from my mother, who used to keep asking me these strange questions like, 'were you touched inappropriately'? I thought something was wrong with my mother. It’s important to have these conversations. We still come from progressive households where parents talk such things with their kids. A lot of times in India people don't talk about it. Sex, girls and their sexuality is still considered a taboo."

"We are cloistered in a way where it can be so damaging to relationships, to self-confidence. There is sex shaming, body shaming, there is every kind of shaming happening. I feel we are going backwards in the country. It's so important that people like Vidya (Balan) do such films (Kahaani 2) which is so encouraging for young girls. I'm constantly inspired by you (Vidya Balan)," Kapoor concluded.