Taapsee: Sexual harassment happens in Bollywood

Taapse Pannu
Taapse Pannu

Taapsee Pannu says the reason why female actors have not called out sexual abusers in Hindi film industry is because they fear being judged and shamed.

The #MeToo campaign, which sparked off a movement in Hollywood late last year, is yet to arrive in Bollywood.

There are only a handful of Bollywood stars who have spoken about sexual harassment prevalent in the industry, without taking any names.

Taapsee says “fortunately or unfortunately” she did not face any sexual harassment, otherwise she would’ve “probably helped voicing it.”

“It’s not that it doesn’t happen, it does. I am aware of it because I hear from people who tell me this but the same people probably aren’t ready to openly talk about it because there are a lot of taboos attached to it.

“They feel whatever little momentum their career has gained, because of this a lot of people will not support them, (they) will think this is a cheap way of publicity. Their ethics and characters will be questioned,” she said.

While Hollywood had actors are naming and shaming their abusers, the film fraternity here has been silent on the topic, thereby inviting criticism from fans.

Taapsee says things are a bit complex in Bollywood.

“It’s not who was wrong and right in that situation. They will look at the person with a doubt that ‘you are exploiting this situation for your benefit’.

“Especially for girls who have no family here or someone supporting them here. It’s not like that. So may be that insecurity really haunts them and that holds them back,” she adds.

The actor has currently featured in the short film Nitishastra directed by Kapil Verma. The film, presented by ‘Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films’, also talks about rape and features Taapsee as a self-defence teacher.

Over the years with her films such as Baby and Naam Shabana, the actor has earned the image of an action heroine.

At the launch of the short film today, Taapsee said she does not view the label negatively.

“In this industry, for an outsider to have any image is a big thing. People do so many things, just to have an image, whether it’s through PR or films. To have such a strong image, without any acting, off-camera, I feel blessed.

“The fact that my audience relates to me and has brought me so far, and you all have come to watch my short film, I think the image is working well for me,” she said.