It’s been 15 months since the #MeToo movement began in India, and conversations around sexual harassment in the entertainment industry are fundamentally different, noted Kajol and Shruti Haasan.
At a special screening of their short film Devi, Kajol and Shruti spoke out about the impact of the #MeToo movement in the film industry. Kajol said that there's much more awareness of what people, especially men, are saying in rooms.
"After the #MeToo movement took a life of its own and embroiled a lot of very well known people in it, I think somewhere down the line, men – good, bad, indifferent – took seven steps back. And, that was necessary. More than good or bad, there is a lot of thought put into everybody’s daily interactions whether it’s on a set or in an office environment,” Kajol said.
Her Devi co-star Shruti also said that men have become well aware that their career and reputation could be at stake if their behaviour is found inappropriate.
“After the whole #MeToo thing happened, I was taking a flight to London, and there was someone sitting in front of me who was reading a manual on ‘Physical proximity and how to behave in that space’. You might get into trouble was a trigger that was working, and I think it was very important for it to happen. Quite honestly, I didn’t think that India would take it to such a level, and it made me proud that people dared to come out and speak up,” Shruti said.
The #MeToo movement, determined to end sexual violence and harassment against women, initially ignited by multiple allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in 2017. A year later, the movement picked up in India when a female actor alleged that veteran actor Nana Patekar harassed her during the shoot of a song in 2008. Following which, a number of prominent women faces came forward with their #MeToo stories.