Tanushree Dutta: How come nobody in Bollywood has sleepless nights when a woman is harassed?
Within hours of landing in Mumbai from the US, Tanushree Dutta was greeted with news that Aamir Khan has reversed his decision to not work with #MeToo accused director Subhash Kapoor on Mogul, a biopic on music baron Gulshan Kumar.
The superstar's reason behind his call — "I could not sleep at night because I used to feel that my actions have inadvertently caused a person, about whose guilt I have no idea, to lose his right to earn a livelihood" — earns a smirk from Dutta, who lived with her story of sexual harassment for a decade, before going public with it last year, thus opening the floodgates of the #MeToo movement in the country.
"How come nobody in Bollywood has sleepless nights when a woman becomes a victim of abuse and is not able to work due to the trauma and ostracisation," she questions, not afraid to call out the industry for its double standards.
"If he has agreed to hire this guy [Kapoor], why not hire the woman [Geetika Tyagi] who suffered the consequences of his actions? Why do only the creepy men of Bollywood get compassion? Let the girls also see some of that saintly do-goodery."
In agreeing to work with a #MeToo accused, Dutta feels that Khan has defeated the purpose of the movement.
"It was to heal the wounds of those who have no validation from court for the injustices they bore. Compassion should be universal. If it's so selective as is being displayed by the Bollywood's bigwigs, then it's not compassion. It's convenience and ignorance. Nobody bothered to ask me how I was doing when my livelihood was snatched away after the Horn Ok Pleassss (2009) harassment episode. No compassion for me, Aamir?" Countering Khan's belief that one is innocent until proven guilty, the actor argues that only a survivor "understands the pain of having to see their perpetrators flourish while they wait for a court verdict that puts a stamp of approval on their complaint. If every alleged harasser gets reinstated, then the goal of an abuse-free workplace becomes a distant dream."