{ Page-Title / Story-Title }

News Hindi

Vidya Balan: Women never had the courage to talk about sexual harassment

The Tumhari Sulu (2017) actress shares her thoughts on the casting couch, says walking away was her defence against indecent proposals.

Mayur Lookhar

Allegations of sexual assualt against powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and, now, veteran actor Kevin Spacey have reopened the debate about the casting couch in Hindi cinema as well.

We saw the #MeToo campaign on social media which led thousands of women to open up about their bitter experiences. Actresses, especially those who have no godfathers in the industry, are being asked whether they had any bitter experiences.

Vidya Balan, who came into Hindi cinema as an outsider and made it big on her own steam, shared her thoughts on the subject. While there has largely been support for the women who have opened up on sexual harassment in Hollywood, some have also questioned the timing of their disclosures. Vidya, however, believes the women simply did not have the courage to talk about these incidents earlier.

“Women never had the courage to talk about sexual harassment as, invariably, the finger would be pointed back at them," The Dirty Picture (2011) actress told the Press Trust of India news agency. "Which is why I think whether sexual harassment or rape, women have always found it difficult to talk about it.”

The Tumhari Sulu (2017) actress was asked how best to avoid sexual harassment at work, and she cited her own defence mechanism. "I could walk away because I had a home to go back to," she said. "I had family, I had food on my plate and I had nothing to worry about.”

Vidya, however, agreed that not everyone has this privilege. “Lots of people have circumstances that are different," she said. "As a woman, you have the sixth sense and instinct. No one has asked me for a coffee. If I went to have coffee with someone, it was because I wanted to go. I felt it was below my dignity to get work in any other way. I don't judge others who had to use any sort of means as everyone's circumstances are different.”

Tumhari Sulu is set to be released on 17 November.