#MeToo musings: Time to make Bollywood safer

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CINTAA, the Cine and TV Artistes Association, is determined to do its bit to safeguard women in the film industry from sexual harassment. Sushant Singh, Secretary CINTAA, says, “In the wake of the recent turbulence in all forms of media and the various complaints received by us, we feel that CINTAA needs to take cognizance of the fact that the menace of sexual harassment does exist.” He admitted that the organisation had been receiving complaints from members since the past few years, “but the #MeToo movement has touched our shores, and especially our industry is in the eye of the storm.” He vouched that CINTAA has taken a stand which has been unprecedented, and is being appreciated all over the world. As an affiliate of FIA (International Federation of Actors), CINTAA is actively supporting its sister unions SAG-AFTRA in Hollywood’s #MeToo movement. “Now it’s our turn to initiate the much-needed course–correction in our industry,” points out Singh. “We are in the process of forming a special advisory committee to address the rampant problem of sexual harassment and total absence of a safe working environment for our female members. We have also empanelled Advocate Sana Hakim – founder of POSH at Work, Jamshed Mistry – Independent Counsel and Founder of International Legal Alliance (ILA) and also partnering with Brinelle D’souza – Tata Institute of Social Sciences, to set a plan of action for the same.
Actress Renuka Shahane, who is on the POSH Committee, affirms, “We need to meet together first and formulate a policy to take this problem by the horns and inform our women members as to how to safeguard themselves from such sexual predators and whom to approach in such circumstances for justice. We must approach the authorities to lay down laws and sanctions against persons found guilty of such acts.”
Actress Rajeshwari Sachdev, also on the POSH committee, opines, “Female actors should be taught of such occurrences happening on the sets and how to face it, fight it without bowing down to it, and not compromising when it comes to exploitation. We should be in constant talks with the government to lay down guidelines and laws which should be the benchmark for such things happening.”

Director Anil Sharma opines, “This is the right way that the industry is progressing and such bad things should be weeded out which give a wrong image for the industry.”
Actor Arjun Bijlani supports the #MeToo movement and commends women talking about being sexually harassed. The actor, who is currently seen in ‘Ishq Mein Marjawan’, feels the movement is sure to change things for women. “I completely support this campaign and women who have been abused in the industry or any industry for that matter, are being heard and things are going to change. In fact, there should be a forum where women can come and complain and that committee should not be run by a man. Women must be able to go and complain if someone is harassing them. This committee can then look into the matter and take necessary actions,” he says. However, he urges people to not misuse the movement. “This campaign is also a responsibility. People should not use this as a platform to seek revenge or to malign people. The truth will be proven anyway,” he says.

Finally, the Hindi film industry may indeed become a safer place for both sexes, minus the shadow of exploitation.

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