Tuesday, 17 May, 2022
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Kajol’s comment on ‘true survivors’ of sexual abuse shows she has let down her own film Devi

Kajol, who was in Devi, a film on rape survivors, said not every ‘triviality’ should be screamed and cried about because it’s not ‘gruesome as rape’.

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Thappad to Pink, no amount of films raising awareness on sexual harassment or rape can hide Bollywood’s hypocrisy when it comes to gender. Devi, a multi-starrer with Kajol as the prominent face, released in March has got lakhs of views on YouTube. The 13-minute short delivered a hard-hitting story about rape survivors.

But then it all went downhill when Kajol gave an interview to Anupama Chopra on Film Companion this weekend.

Kajol said, “Women who cry and scream about something which is not as gruesome as rape lose their credibility as women”. She went on to add “trivialities” makes things difficult for “true survivors”. All of this while she was discussing her 13-minute short film on rape and sexual assault survivors. Irony died a slow death.

Also read: Art, life and Bollywood’s role in violence against women

True supporters

Sexual assault cannot be defined on a rating scale. No one should define who is a “true survivor”. Every woman who decides to “scream or cry” about their sexual abuse has to overcome many barriers of social stigma, safety and career issues before they can even speak or whisper. It looks as if the #MeToo movement taught the Bollywood film industry nothing.

There are many stories of abusers easily carrying on with their lives while women faced harassment and were slut-shamed. Singer Chinmayi Sripada, who accused lyricist Vairamuthu of sexual harassment, was out of work for many days.

Even an unwanted touch or gesture in a crowded metro or bus can make a woman feel numb and helpless. Being a woman herself, Kajol should’ve realised that.

But Kajol isn’t the only Bollywood actress who hasn’t bothered to keep up with the times or read up.

Last year, another actor from her generation had made similarly regressive remarks. During the actress’ round table with Rajeev Masand, Rani Mukerji had said that the onus to save oneself from sexual harassment is on women. They should fight back, hit back and men won’t bother anymore, was Mukerji’s opinion. Thankfully other women at the interview, Deepika Padukone to Alia Bhatt, not only visibly cringed but also spoke back.

Also read: Rani Mukerji’s Mardaani 2 has got its timing right – India wants instant & bloody justice

Devis and trivialities

Kajol and Rani Mukerji sound like those relatives in your family who blame women for the harassment they face while also saying they really respect women and that women are ‘devis’.

It all comes down to how hypocritical the film industry is. Bollywood objectifies women, gives them almost no clothes to dance in a song, romanticises stalking and teasing. In Bollywood, na still means haan (TamashaAe Dil Hai Mushkil, Kabir Singh)

During the interview, Kajol says that the subject of film Devi was “something that she definitely believes in”. She has destroyed it with her ‘trivialities’.

Views are personal.

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  1. Kajol is a strong woman and personality, she has expressed what she think is her logic in dealing with such a situation. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this as some women will fight in court for this cause and they can as they have the financial means e.g Taylor Swift. There are those that don’t want their attack or harassment to be know and be seen as week if it happens to them, they wash it away from their skin and keep quiet for years but the attack and pain is buried deep in their minds and soul. And there are girls and women who are fragile and their reaction is to make as much noise as they can to be heard. We wish this would not happen to women or men, that we as decent human know and respect boundaries and what is personal but alas not all of us are decent there are some wolves in sheep clothing among us. Maybe instead of being upset take this as advise and if something does happen, be strong and firm and go after your attacker in this fashion and see if you get better results and stronger punishments for the perpetrators!!!

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