(L-R) Swara Bhasker, Jaya Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Dia Mirza | Commons
(L-R) Swara Bhasker, Jaya Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Dia Mirza | Commons
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From Jaya Bachchan to Hema Malini, Taapsee Pannu, Swara Bhasker, Richa Chadha, Renuka Sahane, Dia Mirza, Twinkle Khanna and, to an extent, Sonam Kapoor; it’s the women who have unabashedly defended the Hindi film industry, called out the recent attacks on Bollywood, and extended support to their colleague Rhea Chakraborty who finds herself in the stuff of nightmares.

Filmmakers Anubhav Sinha, Anurag Kashyap and Sudhir Mishra have also been at the forefront, but the leading ‘heroes’ are completely MIA.

History won’t be kind to the leading men of Bollywood. They didn’t show up when their karambhoomi found itself under a vicious, systematic attack, and retreated into cocoons that would keep them safe until the storm passed.

The attacks on Bollywood over the charges of nepotism have torn it down, with actor Kangana Ranaut hopping from one TV channel to another to say the first piece of uncorroborated nonsense that enters her mind. The media, too, has painted a dystopian image of the industry — full of ‘vishkanyas‘, Dawood Ibrahim’s close friends and drug addicts out to eat anyone who dares to enter their territory.

But the leading men of the industry have largely behaved as if everything is perfectly fine — sab changa si.

Bihar election or not, dear ‘heroes’, it’s pretty evident that the storm is here to stay. It’s time to brave it.


Also read: Sushant Singh Rajput forgotten, his death now all about Kangana Ranaut, Rhea Chakraborty


Women take the lead

If the entire saga unfolding in Mumbai were a fictitious story, it would have an all-female cast, with Kangana Ranaut on one side met with the might of equally vocal female warriors, defending their home and their workplace.

Also, note that most women and men at the front-lines defending their beloved Bollywood are the so-called ‘outsiders’ who don’t belong to the filmy khandaans that allegedly exercise monopoly over the film industry.

Some women are taking charge even as their family members and powerful spouses choose to remain silent. Twinkle Khanna, whose husband Akshay seems to be an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) fanboy, wrote a powerful column in favour of Rhea.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha this week, Jaya Bachchan called out the vitriolic attack on the industry that feeds many, generates employment, and brings India international acclaim. Meanwhile, her husband Amitabh Bachchan, considered the patriarch of the industry, was busy correcting the serial numbers of his tweets. Now, after Jaya’s Parliament speech, the Mumbai Police has provided extra security outside the Bachchans’ Mumbai home.

Young actors such as Taapsee Pannu, Richa Chadha and Swara Bhasker put everything on the line every day to speak up for their industry and defend it with all their heart, while never shying away from talking about its shortcomings. Their male contemporaries are probably busy gaining muscle that won’t give them any real strength.


Also read: Bollywood backs Rhea, Raveena Tandon’s drug problem, Anurag Kashyap reveals all — or some of it


Reel-life hero, real-life silence

What do actors have to fear? Some financial deals, damage to films, online attacks, trolling, rape threats? Just what is this risk that male actors fear but the vocal female actors are immune to? Can’t they see their collective goodwill has been tarnished anyway?

The media trial against Rhea Chakraborty after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, the witch hunt, the 24×7 harassment of her family and camping of media outside her house led by TV anchors such as Arnab Goswami and Navika Kumar, earned her absolutely no support from Bollywood seniors. All of them went about their day nonchalantly, as if they’re completely unaware of their surroundings. They didn’t come to help one of their own. They watched as bystanders. And their silence makes them complicit.

The thing is, Kangana Ranaut’s statements are damaging. It’s not about stooping to her level to engage in a dogfight anymore, it’s about taking a stand for yourself and your fraternity. You don’t have to engage with her directly to call her out.

As part of a fraternity, one should condemn someone if they say things like their industry is ‘Islam dominated’. Even IAS and IPS officers spoke against similar allegations made by Sudarshan TV in unison. One has to say something if their colleagues are called murderers and part of ‘suicide gangs’.

Hundreds of people gather outside Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan’s house every day to get a glimpse of them. Some even camp there all night. This isn’t just fandom; it’s belief and reverence. These celebrities owe it to the people who make it possible for them to earn their rozi roti and believe in their heroism. And if not, then perhaps we are looking up to the wrong heroes. It’s the heroines that save the day.


Also read: From Sonu Sood & Swara Bhasker to Urmila — Bollywood responds to Kangana with Mumbai pride


Where the heroes at 

Many leading men of the film industry never earned the title of a ‘good actor’ for a reason. It’s perfectly clear they fail to internalise and live in the skin of any character they have ever portrayed. The fans come to watch them, rather than their movies. Why, after years of featuring in testosterone-filled heroic tales of saving the damsel in distress, standing up for what’s right and always being on a moral high in films, our superstars have learnt nothing.

Even on political issues, many of us expect India’s biggest hub of artists and creators to take a stand. Not only because it happens in Hollywood, but also because you expect artists to speak truth to power.

Even after the attacks on Jamia and JNU students, many actors stuck to tweeting the tiring and overdone cliches like ‘violence should be condemned in any form,’ instead of calling out those responsible. Even then, it was Deepika Padukone, a leading actress with an upcoming film, who showed up and stood by the students. Her silence spoke far more than those of our ‘heroes’.

Shah Rukh Khan didn’t even bother to speak out for his alma mater Jamia Millia Islamia, even after students sought his support. The three leading Khans were also called out for having nothing to lend to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests that were led largely by the Muslim community.

Female actors are at greater risk while speaking their minds. From violent rape threats to trolls posting all kinds of derogatory stuff about them, and their movies getting boycotted — they brave it all. So, what is it that our ‘macho’ Bollywood superheroes can’t handle?

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20 Comments Share Your Views

20 COMMENTS

  1. The Print gets Funding From Pakistan and Drug mafias.So no surprise in such articles, who’s the author anyway?,whoever it is plz stop suppoting the Elites,And find some time to write about the druggies in BOLLYWOOD!!

  2. Whoever has written this article has dung in his head….it is so much in the open the kind of drugs that is happening in an industry where hero’s and Heroines are worshipped more than god and goddesses…in return what has the public got….a bunch of sick and perverted individuals who think they are above the law and not only putting the nation in shame but also cheating the public who look upto them for INSPIRATION…when PHALGAR happened…mnwhen a BRAVE LADY like KANGANA is coming out with facts about the way WOMEN in the industry are being treated, the truth about Disha salian and SSR’s death…the mugging of a Retired NAVAL OFFICER… instead of standing together for justice all the so called BIG people are stone silent….time for people to understand the dirty and filthy character these people carry behind that COLORFUL MASK of being DECENT and GOOD CHARCTERED so called “CELEBRETIES”…who are nothing but SCUM to the society ……Who can forget the JNU QUEEN who when gave a GUEST APPEARANCE. not sure about the QUID PRO QUO ….!!!!

  3. These actresses are defending a person who has strong incriminating evidence against her, because they want to safeguard there own place in the industry. But realize this, the public will boycott Bollywood till justice is served. None of these ladies came in support of Sushant and his family. Sushant was honest, hardworking , extremely intelligent person and a genius . His life was cut short because of vicious forces working against him.. We will fight till justice is served . We will also boycott the movies of these selfish people who have buried their own moral values for vested interest.. Things will change from now. Our voice will be heard . I am a woman and I will stand for honesty and truth .

  4. Utter nonsense article. If it’s your personal view don’t put it in public, you wrote in your note book or classwork. I just noted that I wasted my time reading your personal biased views. Print speaks leftist language everyone is aware of it. Shame shame

  5. Because they know that the moment they open their mouth media and vulture columnists will make it woman vs man issue. They know that and we know vultures like you know that too. But to earn your living peddling hate and controversy is your job. Good luck

  6. It’s really nice to see all these female actors “unabashedly” defending the Hindi film industry.
    After all “C’mon ya… we HAVE to do something ya… like … you know ya… how can we not ya”.
    Are these Woke Folk also “unabashedly” defending the rampant drug culture embedded among the few powerful rotten apples, their nexus with the criminal world and in some cases with enemies of the country?
    Please think ya….

  7. Indignation, outrage, falsehoods, blackmail – the lobby is trying everything. But its too late. People have seen through the glamour.

  8. Another “trendy” topic just like the MeToo in Bollywood ! Murmurs happened. Howling followed. Everyone wen t back with their ideologies in their pockets. No casting couch in Bollywood – declared by the very vermins practising it ! Sad to see none of them grow the spine to even utter one word of caution (forget cristicism) of drug abuse in the industry !

  9. So Kangana is not a woman? Other women and men who says there is nepotism in the industry are spreading rumors? The problem with your definition of feminism and democratic right has to fit into your own narrative. That is the real problem. People like You have a sense of entitlement that the country detest. You prove the point that there is nepotism!

  10. Why didn’t any one come out about SSR’s death. Many of them did not even bother to
    Post condolences for SSR. And now these ladies are stepping out to show support to Rhea who has been upto all kind of questionable behaviour . If they feel she should not be hounded that is understandable , but to openly support her when she has been arrested by NCB is quite another thing. If there are valid reasons for her arrest then she has to face the music. Is this show of support an attempt to try and stop the investigation from snowballing into their own backyards? As for the actors who remain silent it is after all their choice what the want to get involved in. I have noticed how when SRK and Aamir have said anything before , the entire Nation turned against them. But in this entire incident which already has an unfortunate victim, how can justice be demanded for the prime accused? Unless they are seekIng a just punishment for her !

    • A bihari old man, who left Sushant andbhis other with IPS, BJP cousin and Arnab came out. Nobody came out for Rhea, houswives and useless man and IT cell came out to witch hunt a women. Shame

  11. All this outrage & indignation is because these people are now scared of being exposed and also scared for their “careers”. “Who will fund my movie if drug money disappears” is their main worry.

  12. Who is this author anyway..as if allegations of murder drugs and nepotism weren’t enough this author adds gender misogyny to the mix…a puerile piece of misogynist nonsense

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