Whether you ask an actor, actress, scriptwriter or a film-maker, or anyone else connected to Bollywood, perhaps there will always be some kind of a mention of sexual exploitation. It’s often considered to be the dark underbelly of the film line or the film world, as they call it.
Women are exploited; this isn’t just an understatement or a murky truth alone, rather a dominant trend that’s sadly continued in an industry that needs them in the first place, and truthfully speaking, cannot do without.
But what’s most important is to note that even today, in an age where such important movies are being made, perhaps this being a time of women-centric films and meaningful content, the plight of women is still a factor that marks its presence in times of mega-blockbusters and optimistic releases on the Friday box-office.
Adding her own humble two cents on the condition of women being exploited at the box office, actress Taapsee Punnu, the leading light behind notable hits such as Pink, Judwaa and, many others, shared that she isn’t a stranger to hearing incidences about cases of sexual exploitation of women in Bollywood. And that, this is a reality of the film industry whether we like it or not.
But Taapsee Punnu was also of the view that since integrity and prestige is ultimately what matters most to women, many actresses who, sadly have been a part of the casting couch, will never agree to it or reveal the truth about it. There’s this great concern, which is just, about their images being distorted and them earning a bad name in the light of actresses admitting to being sexually manipulated in the Indian film industry. Someone who is considered an honest actor, and someone whose movies have both-style, gravitas as well as content- Taapsee Punnu is of the view that actresses would any day prefer to save their integrity than having it questioned by the public, at large.
“Their ethics and characters will be questioned”, shared Taapse Punnu on why do women actors refrain from sharing incidences that have hurt their dignity and required them to compromise with unbecoming elements; dark forces of the Bollywood film industry. And that wasn’t all.
It’s rather sad that at a time where slowly but steadily an entire world is understanding the importance and essence of women and the great powers their characters hold, actresses in the Indian film industry often face incidences that put their dignity at stake. The element of casting couch might be a notorious one, but it certainly exists in the realm of cinema.
Taapsee Punnu also shed light as to how the unwanted incidences affect many a talented actress and their film journeys. “Especially for girls who have no family here or no one supporting them here.” She would go on to add, “So maybe that insecurity really haunts them and holds them back”, the actress added.
And all of this is actually sad but true. Bollywood might definitely be the realm of glamour, power and, ultimately- for those who earn success- the place to be at. But as with every great opportunity, there’s always some flip side. And the same can be said about the entertainment industry.
A few months earlier, it was Taapsee Punnnu herself who had shared her apparent discomfort with southern film directors particularly wanting the actresses to shed their skin citing that the ‘role of the movie often demands so’. So if these things can happen, which they do, why wouldn’t those who dwell in exploitation not demean the female stars in the Indian film industry. The truth of life, beyond, fame, money and popularity, is often ugly and unless one doesn’t take matters into one’s own hands, there’s a fear that certain miscreants will not ever change. Such is life!