Actress Sunny Leone says she would like to believe that the dialogue around women’s empowerment and the #MeToo movement has changed people’s mindsets in Bollywood.
After making quite an impact in the West, the #MeToo wave swept into Bollywood last year. It was triggered when Tanushree Dutta revisited an unpleasant episode involving veteran actor Nana Patekar on the set of ‘Horn OK Pleassss’ in 2008.
Gradually, many more dark truths from the world of Bollywood came to light, with women naming and shaming predators. The likes of Vikas Bahl, Chetan Bhagat, Gursimran Khamba, Kailash Kher, Rajat Kapoor, Alok Nath, Anu Malik and Sajid Khan were named for using their position to exploit the vulnerable.
Asked about the change that came with the #MeToo movement, Leone chose of more diplomatic approach.
“I don’t work in an office. I live in a bubble but I do think and I do believe that the more women talk about these issues of sexual harassment or [instances of people] making them feel uncomfortable at work, whether it is women or men... [the better]. I have to say that it does happen to men as well. It is just not recognised because ‘he is a guy, what is the big deal?’,” she said.
“If someone is bothering them at the work space or some place else, the more that they speak up, the more they make it aware that no it is not okay ... I think yes things will change.”
“Especially when so many things have come out through social media, media outlets that I have to assume that people are thinking twice that ‘oh am I being videotaped, recorded or will she have a moment [in the future]’. I am sure that it makes [such] people uncomfortable,” she added.
Leone says she was glad that a message around the importance of consent was included in web series ‘Ragini MMS Returns Season 2’. She has a cameo as a paranormal expert in the ALTBalaji series.