Director Karan Johar questioned the mindset of people raising doubts on survivors coming forward with tales of sexual abuse and harassment in the ongoing #MeToo campaign. While there have been several indictments of prominent members in the film industry, there has also been a consistent questioning of the women who have made the accusations.
Johar dismissed the attitude saying, “Every woman, who has a voice, has to be respected, applauded for coming out there and it is essential to believe every given voice. You cannot say there’s no proof. That is a lame, masculine, stupid thing to say. When a woman comes out, she expresses her heart out, she is right and you believe her.”
Speaking at a session on masculinity at We The Women Conclave, Johar admitted that the industry needs to ‘wake up and smell the coffee.’ He said, “When I read so many of those narratives and stories, they broke my heart. It made me realise we cannot be complicit to this and you have to wake up, smell the coffee and be active about it. Every woman, who has a voice, has to be respected, applauded for coming out, and it is essential to believe every given voice.”
The #MeToo movement which began in September with the allegations by actress Tanushree Dutta against Nana Patekar has resulted in a large scale movement across industries in India. While the support for the women has been growing on social media, the limited support from the film industry has raised questions.
While admitting he had not been too vocal on the matter, Johar said, “Not everyone has to go online and say it. A lot of people either work silently or out there. It’s how you choose to take decisions. Some of our decisions will be made but we don’t need to scream and shout about it. A lot of the more evolved minds have taken the required action.”
The director also spoke up about his own struggle with the idea of ‘toxic masculinity,’ saying “Masculinity or Femininity is being comfortable in your skin. You would not put things in boxes.” .
Johar is currently awaiting the release of Shankar’s 2.0, which Dharma Productions is distributing in the north region. The director also has two more productions Kalank, and Brahmastra under production for release in 2019. Johar’s Dharma Productions will also be involved in Shashank Khaitan’s multi-starrer period drama, Takht.