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Three Reasons Why People Don’t Talk About The ‘Harvey Weinsteins’ Of India

It’s well known that a vast majority of Bollywood’s biggest producers and film-makers are men. Many of them are so powerful that they control most of the industry. If you don’t fall in their line, and you resist, you will be excluded.

Adrija Bose | News18

Updated:November 14, 2017, 4:25 PM IST
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Three Reasons Why  People Don’t Talk About The ‘Harvey Weinsteins’ Of India
It’s well known that a vast majority of Bollywood’s biggest producers and film-makers are men. Many of them are so powerful that they control most of the industry. If you don’t fall in their line, and you resist, you will be excluded.
Days after the reports on how Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed women in Hollywood for years, Priyanka Chopra said that people like Harveys are all over, and that includes India. “I don't even think there's only 'a' Harvey Weinstein in Hollywood. There are a lot more men and there will be a lot more stories that will come up and I think that it happens all over the world," she said.

It’s well known that a vast majority of Bollywood’s biggest producers and film-makers are men. Many of them are so powerful that they control most of the industry. If you don’t fall in their line, and you resist, you will be excluded.

Once in a while, female actors open up about how sexual harassment is a common phenomenon across film industries. However, you never hear of names.

What makes it difficult for Bollywood stars to come out and speak about sexual harassment? Why is it that we don’t hear about the many Harveys that exist in the Indian film industry?

When Reuters asked Mukesh Bhatt, who co-heads production house Vishesh Films, how the sexual harassment can be prevented, his response was, “What can we do? We cannot do any moral policing. We cannot keep moral cops outside every film office to see that no girl is being exploited.”

In fact, Bhatt also said that we need to be careful about false allegations. “There are women who are exploitative and very cunning. Also blatantly shameless to offer themselves.”

If Bhatt’s response wasn’t disturbing enough, a Reddit discussion throws light on the problem. And it’s uncomfortable.

The problem of ‘Hero worship’

“The big powerful people are untouchable,” a user wrote.

A Reddit user said that India idolizes stars and celebrities to a whole another level. “Harvey Weinstein while powerful didn’t really have the fan following, say, Salman Khan has.”

Another user pointed out that often people turn their film heroes into Gods. “They actually believe them to be some incarnation of Gods. I don't exaggerate when I say there will actual bloodshed and loss of lives if anything so negative is ever printed in a newspaper or released by a news channel and if it even does, with the amount of corruption in India they'll almost definitely pay their way out of it all,” the user said.

What about the safety?

In an industry with so many powerful men, women are named and shamed quite often for even speaking up against sexual abuse.

Then, there’s the problem of safety. A user raised a doubt about the safety of whistleblowers.
“I doubt whistleblowers can be safe here due to movie stars having close political ties.
Harvey incident may have destroyed some careers, but here they may come after your life.”

The blame game

Just like Mukesh Bhatt, many disbelief the woman if she accuses a powerful, well-known star. A Reddit user pointed out that the controversial Pulsar Suni case where a Malayalam actress accused the famous actor Dileep of attempting to abduct her highlighted all that is wrong with the Indian film industry.
“Character assassinations of the actress have been done by elected MLAs and filmmakers aligned in the actor’s camp. The actor has been out on bail for barely 3 weeks, already 2-3 chief witnesses have changed other statements,” the user wrote.
“This friends, is what happens to Harvey Weinsteins in India,” he said, as a tragic reminder.
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