Director Vikas Bahl was accused of sexual harassment in October by a female employee working with the now defunct Phantom Films, which was owned by him, Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena.
Days later, actress Nayani Dixit came out and accused Bahl of sexual misconduct and harassment during the shooting of Queen (2014), in which she played lead actress Kangana Ranaut’s friend, Sonal.
Women speaking up about sexual harassment or worse, sometimes after a couple of decades, has fuelled the #MeToo movement in India, not just in the film industry but also in media, politics, public relations and other areas of activity.
There is no denying that the movement has grown and also been appreciated. However, at the same time, a lot of questions are raised about those who have chosen to break their silence after years.
This was pointed out to Dixit during a conversation with Cinestaan.com at the LIFFT India Filmotsav in Lonavala today.
“All those who ask what is the point of bringing it out after 10 or 20 years are being stupid,” Dixit responded. “It’s not important when you spoke out. The point is that finally at least you spoke!
“First we need to get rid of this problem of now and then. A lot of women are being trolled for this. This is also the reason why some victims are not speaking out as they fear what will people say,” she said.
Dixit strongly believes that the fruits of the movement will be reaped in the future. “If they are finally speaking out, at least we are ensuring that coming generations don’t need to face it,” she said.
The actress wished the movement had started 25 or 30 years ago. “As I said earlier at the festival, we live in a patriarchal society. I am not talking just about India. This problem is across the globe. It’s not that India alone is patriarchal. Because of this it took long for this movement to start. But better late than never. What is wrong should be stopped by all means, through saam, daam, dand, bhed [using all means],” she added.
Some people have also pointed to the possibility of the movement being misused by some to settle scores. Dixit did not deny the possibility. “I am aware that people can take wrong advantage of the movement,” she said. “But to figure that out is also up to the public. Some people are using it as an opportunity for personal gain. This is something that lets down such an important issue.”
The actress-cum-acting teacher also touched upon a possible remedy for the problem of rampant sexual harassment. “There has to be a code of conduct in every industry, just like how we have our Constitution, and it should be followed,” she said.