“I’m very close to the women I work with. Nobody has said this. I’ve never personally been told on my sets.”
In a ‘HARDtalk’ with BBC, Shahrukh Khan will speak on sexual harassment in Bollywood. In particular, he discusses how no-one misbehaves on his film sets.
Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal, this has opened up a massive dialogue over sexual harassment of women.
It has been rampant in industries such as Hollywood. Bollywood too has been under the scanner for such activities. Unfortunately, the industry is yet to take a strong step to end the menace.
SRK, who recently won the Crystal Award 2018, speaks to ‘HARDtalk on BBC World News’ about the issue. He also reflects on whether women are being mistreated in the Hindi industry.
In a strong statement, he says:
“At a level when I’m making films or working in films, we are very clear about the attitude to women. Even the smallest aspects, of the names coming first in the title, which is not going to do anything, but the kind of respectability.
“I have never personally, first hand and nobody, if I may say, nobody dared misbehave with a woman on my set, I am very clear on that.”
Shah Rukh gave out some interesting insights about not just taking big steps towards change like equal pay for women. But even smaller ones like showing respect was important. He explains:
“Even this small thing needs to be done just to bring about the equality… Just see what we’ve reduced ourselves to.
“You know, to put a girl’s name in front just to show what little guys we are, thinking of them as equals. And that is sad and that is strangely dichotomous when you’re talking about creativity, and you have boys and girls working together.”
Ever since the Time’s Up movement in Hollywood has gained global momentum and support, actresses like Kalki Koechlin and Swara Bhasker have made strong points of Bollywood’s part.
Although not many senior actors have addressed the issue as much.
With a career spanning over 25 years in the industry, it is only wise for SRK to comment on Bollywood’s state in sexual harassment. He is known to be a chivalrous star and has worked with a host of leading ladies, some of them even as young as Alia Bhatt.
BBC’s Zeinab Badawi further prods ‘King Khan’ in the programme about his female colleagues. She asked if they have ever confided in him about any harassment they have faced before.
She mentions how actress Kangana Ranaut is among the very few who has spoken extensively on being harassed physically and emotionally in the industry.
Shahrukh says: “I’m very close to the women I work with. Nobody has said this. I’ve never personally been told on my sets.”
In 2013, the actor made a pledge on International Women’s day to put all his leading ladies’ names ahead of his in the film credits. Back then, he said, ” I don’t know whether this is going to bring a change but the point needs to be raised.”
SRK’s comments will no doubt create more ‘food for thought’ on sexual harassment. We have to applaud him for speaking on the subject, raising awareness of this issue in Bollywood.
Make sure you watch the interview on ‘HARDtalk with BBC World News’ airing 31st January 2018.