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Farhan Akhtar: If anyone has been harassed, they should speak up without fear

Actor-filmmaker-singer Farhan Akhtar, who is known to voice his opinion against gender discrimination, urges anyone facing harassment in Bollywood to speak up.

bollywood Updated: Nov 16, 2017 21:11 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Farhan Akhtar,Bollywood,Harassment
Bollywood actor-director and founder of MARD Foundation, Farhan Akhtar says it’s important to speak up against harassment. (Pramod Thakur)

Farhan Akhtar is a man with an opinion on issues that matter, but reserves his words for when he thinks it’s vital for him to share his views. Gender-related issues hold importance in the actor-filmmaker’s life. From time to time, he has not only called a spade a spade, but also encouraged people to muster the courage to oppose what’s wrong in society.

Talking about sexual harassment allegations that have been coming to the fore in Hollywood, Farhan says it’s important to speak up. But how come hardly anyone in Bollywood is talking about it?

“I’ve heard of people talking about issues with the casting couch. But I don’t know anybody personally to whom it [harassment] has happened that I can encourage to speak up. Or the other thing, [it] hasn’t happened to me... But, whoever has something to share of this magnitude — if they’ve been taken advantage of or exploited — it’s up to them to decide whether they want to speak up or not. I can’t force anybody. But at the end of the day, if they feel it’s time, then they should without any fear,” says Farhan.

It wasn’t long back when he drew attention to gender bias through an open letter. In the wake of the Hrithik Roshan-Kangana Ranaut controversy, Farhan spoke about how a woman may not necessarily always be the victim. His comments were met with flak and praise alike, to which he says, “Some people will agree with you, some won’t. That’s a given. But I felt that it was important for me to say what I had to say, and people can take whatever they want from it. I’m just here to put my opinion out there, [and] not to get into an argument with anyone.”

Another incident still fresh in mind is how Farhan chose to tweet against a politician who said that most filmstars have low IQ. “For certain things [that are] portraying anything in a way that’s contrary to a more sympathetic perception of a whole industry, it’s crucial to speak up, being a part of the fraternity... I don’t have any desire to unnecessarily give my two bits of opinion to someone when I don’t feel it’s needed. But, when I feel something needs to be said, I say it without fear!” says Farhan.

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First Published: Nov 16, 2017 21:11 IST