Sona Mohapatra targets Sony: ‘Shocking they picked up promotion around a contestant kissing one of the judges’
Singer Sona Mohapatra has taken it upon herself to be one of the vocal voices of the #MeToo Movement. She, along with singers Shweta Pandit and Neha Bhasin, has accused popular Bollywood music composer Anu Malik of sexual misconduct. In a recent Facebook video session with her fans, she maintained her stand and hit out at Sony Television for using “MeToo movement for publicity” and asked all not to be cynical about the future.
In the video, she starts by saying how one of her band members -- Yadunandan Nagaraj -- told her that many of his friends had been telling him that now they too feel that change was possible and that the rich and the powerful can be taken to task for misconduct. Here’s the complete transcript of what she said:
“Yadunandan Nagaraj, one of my favourite musicians in the band, tells me that many of his friends are calling to say that before, they would feel rather cynical (that no change was possible in the system; things will remain as they are); people who are powerful, who are rich, people who are very good at the art of deception (aakhon mein dhul jhonkne mein maaher hain), they will get away with all their deeds. Whatever they do, they will get away because they have very powerful allies. I am talking about Anu Malik who has been continuing for years. Everybody knows of his sick behaviour. So many women spoke up but Sony felt that ‘let’s make this into a publicity stunt’. They started their show by having a whole promotion around a contestant forcibly kissing one of the judges. Who can such corporations be, who can such marketeers be who that this issue which is a such serious matter, more so in our country, where a lot of women don’t have an agency, a lot of people do not have voices or platforms to speak up and fight for their rights. Even the legal framework too is not completely aligned to figure out how to handle these cases. It’s shocking that they picked up a whole promotion around a contestant kissing... that means they are taking publicity and enjoying and using the MeToo Movement for their advantage. They created attention for their show through this.
“Yadu tells me that a lot of his friends are writing in and saying that they have a hope, they are thinking that ‘wow, change can happen’. That we are no so helpless and they feel it is as much their fight as it is mine. All of you have been backing me. I am quite tired but I am also very grateful that I have your support and this fight isn’t mine alone, it is everyone’s fight.
“Also, only Anu Malik isn’t the one to be blamed, even a corporation like Sony TV, who knew that so many people have spoken out. They did no enquiry, they followed no ‘due process’; instead they said it is their (women) responsibility to prove. How does a one person prove? Does one take a recording device? Does one take a camera, every time one steps out to meet people? How does one prove such things? Yet when so much people speak up, when so many people are scared of speaking up about such matters as they are embarrassed about such matters, are shamed then how can it be beneficial?
“However, I think this victory is not just mine but everybody’s and this fight is not going to get over soon. Nothing changes overnight and it takes a long time before such deep rooted malaise changes... I have written to national commission for women formally. It took me two days to compile all the testimonies of all the women. Many people get afraid but I want to take this fight to its end because I want to prove that this cannot happen over and over again. It is in our hands, we cannot let this happen to us and we cant let people take us for granted because India is changing, we are in a much better time. When I contacted Smriti Irani and wrote a letter, NCW immediately replied. I feel systems are changing and if from a hundred women, if one or two women misuse it, you cannot deny that there are thousands who have actually endured for centuries and borne the brunt of how imbalanced our gender situation is in India. I am very happy, in my life there are many such guys are there and I feel that people in Yadu’s generation, who are in their twenties, they are amazing, they want a big change. I hope all of India wants this change and I am sending you a lot of love and thanks and gratitude. Please don’t get cynical - nobody should feel that there will no change and whatever is there is fine.
“Please know that this fight isn’t one of women alone, there are amazing men who want a safer future not only for women but for men, for everybody... if there is safety for all, then prosperity will also be position, progression will follow and economic progression will also happen. Only if we walk together will we be able to make a stronger, richer country. One should be rich in values too, not only in the bank balance. Thank you all for backing the good fight. We have to hold Sony TV responsible also. They can’t do such stuff for publicity and get away with it -- first they hire Anu Malik, do a lot of publicity, garner attention, picked up TRPs, and later said they have removed him... What is happening? They are taking us for granted. Please all of you are intelligent... they are taking us for granted for their personal gain. Guys please stand for the right thing.
Anu has offered to step down as a judge of Indian Idol, channel sources said on Thursday. “He conveyed to the channel today that he wants to step down till he clears his name,” a Sony Entertainment Television insider told PTI.
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