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Bangla Insider

MeToo picks up steam in India

Published on : 09 October 2018, 01:42 PM
MeToo picks up steam in India


The #MeToo movement has arrived in Bollywood, a year after it shook the foundations of Hollywood, with growing reports of sexual abuse since an actress lit the spark two weeks ago with her testimony of an aggression that occurred in 2008.

The reports of harassment cases have multiplied in the social network Twitter, as happened last year after the revelation of the scandals of Harvey Weinstein in the United States, and have even provoked the reaction of a minister, the ultimatum of an influential actor and the resignation of two known comedians.

"Now, the #MeToo` campaign has begun and I am very happy about it," Maneka Gandhi, Minister of Women and Child Development, told the Indian agency ANI.

The minister reminded the victims of sexual assaults that the country`s law allows filing a complaint "ten years, fifteen years later, no matter when", while denouncing that sexual abuse "it never disappears, never."

In a television broadcast in late September, the Indian actress Tanushree Dutta reported that she was molested in 2008 by the well-known actor Nana Patekar, who played one of the main roles in the Oscar-nominated film "Salaam Bombay", during the filming of a song for the movie "Horn Ok Pleassss".

The actress denounced Patekar alleging that he touched her in an "indecent and unnecessary" way under the pretext of teaching her some dance steps, which made her feel "outraged", according to Dutta`s statements collected by the PTI agency.

The accusation is not new as Dutta filed a formal complaint with the Cine and TV Artists Association (CINTAA) before which Patekar publicly denied later.

Unlike ten years ago, the case of the actress has now gained momentum in social networks and the media, and CINTAA said in a statement on October 2 that the agency did not act properly and that the accusation of sexual assault "was not even addressed.".

Patekar reaffirmed his innocence during a press conference, in which he said, "What was true ten years ago remains so now, and will continue to be tomorrow too."

Indian film critic Anupama Chopra acknowledged to EFE that the arrival of the feminist movement was "pending for a long time" in the Asian country.

"Tanushee Dutta complained ten years ago and nothing happened, but clearly and luckily now we live in a different time," said Chopra, "very happy" to see the women show their faces to denounce their aggressors.

In a sort of domino effect, Dutta`s accusation has given rise to new denunciations in social networks and has brought to light other old ones that had gone unnoticed.

A woman at Phantom Films in 2015 accused director Vikas Bahl of sexual assault, who is a partner in that company. She alleged that the Bahl behaved inappropriately during a trip to Goa.

Actor Hrithik Roshan, one of the best-known faces of the country and a participant in a film not yet premiered by Bahl, stepped forward and asked the producers to probe into the accusations and act with "severity" if those are true.

"It is impossible for me to work with a person if he or she is guilty of such serious behavior," Roshan said on Twitter, at the moment the only great male actor to have spoken.

Beyond the cinema, the group of comedians based in Mumbai "All India Bakchod" has been forced to suspend temporarily two of its founding members and has removed all the videos of an accused comedian of harassing several women on the internet, including a minor.

"All India Bakchod" reported the withdrawal of two of its members in a statement, although without specifying the reasons.

The #MeToo has also shaken the world of journalism and, according to the Indian television channel NDTV, the editor-in-chief of the Hindustan Times, Prashant Jha, has resigned after a co-worker accused him of harassment.

Anupama Chopra stressed that it is not enough that complaints of sexual aggression shake social networks.

"It has to have a real consequence for men who think they can get away with it, clearly that is no longer the case, so consequences are being produced in real life, and that is very good news," summarized the critic.

Bangla Insider/ZRM