After circumstances led her into prostitution at 17, and after working at dance bars in Mumbai, Dubai and other Gulf countries for 10 years, Shagufta Rafique turned her life around dramatically. She went on to write the scripts for films like Woh Lamhe (2006), Murder 2 (2011), Raaz 3 (2012), Jannat 2 (2012) and the recent Aashiqui 2. In a candid chat, she talks about the recent Supreme Court judgement, and plans to put her life on the silver screen.
What do you think about the SC judgement?
Not all women are capable of taking up a well-paying office job. And in a lot of such families, there are too many mouths to feed. In such situations, they often take up jobs in dance bars. But that doesn't mean that they indulge in prostitution as well. But it's believed that dance bars encourage prostitution. That logic is terribly flawed. Today, several middle-class married women and even girls with well-paying jobs indulge in prostitution because they need that extra money. So who are we to say that only dance bars lead to such crimes? For the past seven years, dance bars were banned, but I have only one question to ask.
Were they able to control prostitution in the city?How do you remember your days in the bars?
It isn't easy for anyone. But I would only say that I was involved in prostitution for 10 years and if not for dance bars, maybe I
wouldn't have been able to quit that profession.
What kind of challenges did you face while working?
I didn't like the profession for several reasons, but mainly due to the police crackdown. Whenever there would be a raid, we would have to hide while men would be let off without being questioned. Also in my mind, I wasn't doing anything wrong. Once at a Santacruz bar, we were locked in a dark, dingy room for 15 minutes till the police went away. When I would come out of the bar, it would be impossible to avoid lecherous cat calls and names. Others would talk to me in a different tone and tenor. Even now, they aren't very enthused, but now they are angrier about the fact that I am successful.
Do you plan to put your life on the big screen?
Yes, I want to make an autobiographical film. But not right now. Even Gulshan Grover and Bhatt Saab (filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt) have asked me to work on it. But I am waiting to get more recognition in the industry.