"I know a lot of men who have gone through this as well. It's high time this comes out."
South Indian actress Radhika Apte has shared her thoughts on the growing sexual allegations made in the film industry. In particular, she has highlighted how men also suffer from this kind of abuse.
The star spoke to PTI in an interview, where the conversation turned to sexual harassment. She said:
“Not just women, men also go through sexual abuse. I am specifically talking about the industry, I know a lot of men who have gone through this as well. It’s high time this comes out.”
Radhika’s comments come in the wake of the ongoing Harvey Weinstein scandal. In Hollywood, more have spoken out on the abuse they have experienced – including both men and women. Now a number of actors face allegations made against them, such as Kevin Spacey and Ed Westwick.
The scandal has prompted new discussions on abuse in the film industry, spreading out to Indian cinema. Radhika addressed the need for Bollywood to support those who suffered from harassment. She explained:
“As the industry becomes more open and people from different parts come here – not just for people from their own production house or family – it’s more important that we have a platform.”
Indeed, it has faced controversy regarding the casting couch. With some suggesting Bollywood still suffers from this type of abuse. Stars such as Irrfan Khan and Ranveer Singh have spoken about their own experiences.
However, Radhika described the topic as “grey” and “sensitive” with limited opportunities to open a discussion in India. She explained that this results in a fear among victims:
“The fear is there because we still have this culture where Bollywood is considered to be this inaccessible magical place. But it’s not, it’s a workplace. Work ethics need to be introduced at every level.
“[It] also comes from ‘Who is going to believe me? The other person has so much power, my complain will go unnoticed, that’ll ruin my career’. That’s the perception. I think more need to people speak up”
Perhaps seen as controversial, the Parched actress believes that both sides of sexual harassment need to tackle the issue. She explained:
“People who exploit their power and abuse others need to be revealed. On the other hand, people are ambitious and are ready to do what is required. It needs to work from both the sides.
“You need to learn to say no and need to recognise when you’re being exploited. You will get your due, according to your talent. at some time. [sic] Some people come here running away from home, they have nothing to fall back on. A better organisation, rules and transparency will help a lot.”
As the star shares her thoughts on the matter, perhaps this will encourage victims to speak out. And prompt Bollywood to tackle this serious issue. However, only time can tell.