MeToo: Raveena Tandon talks about workplace harassment, how heroes’ wives, girlfriends got her fired from films
Supporting India’s #MeToo movement, Raveena Tandon says even though she has not been a victim of sexual harassment, the countless stories of ill-treatment of women anger her. The 43-year-old actor said she has been through “professional harassment” in the film industry and hence understands the trauma. “I was never sexually harassed as I was not the one to just take it. I would give it back. But I can imagine the trauma that the young girls go through. It is so sad and disheartening to hear these stories. It angers me.
“I have been through professional harassment. I did lose out on couple of films. There were few women journalists, who would tarnish our reputation in their magazines or newspapers. Like, from being called a liar to delusional liar, etc. They helped the heroes,” Raveena told PTI.
Talking about her harassment experience, the actor said it was a disturbing phase as her reputation was maligned. “They work in tandem to ruin an actress’s life,” she added, without taking any names.
In a cryptic tweet, recently, Raveena had said, “What defines harassment in a workplace? The fact that many industry wives and girlfriends are silent observers or instigators, when actor husbands destroy the careers of actresses after the chase and flirtation is over or have them replaced with other potential targets.” When asked about the same, the National Award-winning actor, said, “Sometimes it is women also who are complacent because of insecurity or professional jealousy and have got other actresses removed from a project using their hero boyfriend or husband. And this is not fair.
“It might not be sexual harassment but it is professional harassment. The clauses in the contracts need to be strong. If certain people have problem working with the actress then they should step away. Why ruin the girl’s career?”
Raveena said in the past, whenever female actors opened up about the issues they faced on a film’s set, they were branded “trouble makers”. “...There used to be an entire camp that used to work against the women including the entertainment media, the editors used to be hand-in-glove with the hero or director or producer. They (media) were either offered a lot more money or a bigger cover.
“Women would have the entire system working against them. This happens not just in the film industry but other professions as well,” she said. Raveena said she is happy that women are finally being heard and is hopeful that the moment will bring the much-needed change in gender dynamics. “We lost the opportunity. And it feels good that today women are getting support from everyone. It is a movement here to stay and I see it making a positive change in the workplace environment. “Earlier there used to be an entire nexus, the producers guild and others would be scared to take action against the hero. Today action is being taken in the open.” Last week, Cine and TV Artists Association (CINTAA) said, they will be setting up an advisory committee to deal with sexual harassment in the industry, which will have actors Swara Bhasker and Raveena among others as members.
Raveena’s advice to women, is to take the legal action, besides approaching the film bodies and associations.
“I believe innocent until proven guilty. After the investigations are carried out, if the person is found guilty, then there also has to be legal action against them.”
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