Wednesday, 26 January, 2022
HomeOpinionPoVNawazuddin Siddiqui dismisses Bollywood’s #MeToo movement — a fan in me has...

Nawazuddin Siddiqui dismisses Bollywood’s #MeToo movement — a fan in me has died

The Gangs of Wasseypur actor said the movement calling out sexual abuse in Bollywood was a publicity stunt by those who couldn’t get work in the industry.

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Last year, when the #MeToo movement shook up Bollywood, most members of the film fraternity maintained a stony silence. Besides the eerie quiet, several Bollywood biggies even tried to trivialise the movement that saw individuals call out years of misconduct and abuse. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, a highly acclaimed actor who carved a space for himself in a nepotistic industry filled with star kids, is now among those who ridiculed the movement.

In a recently published interview with entertainment portal Pinkvilla, Siddiqui said: “Everyone thinks they are talented. This industry is beautiful because it also makes a non-talented person into a star…There needs to be something extraordinary in you. Then kaam nahi hoga toh gaaliyan denge industry ko. Jin logon ko kaam nahi hota, woh duniya bhar ke ilzaam lagate hai industry pe, duniya bhar ke movement nikalte hai phir (If there is no work, people will abuse the industry. People who have no work abuse the industry, and then bring out all sorts of movements).”

While reading the interview, a fan in me died.

During the course of the interview, Siddiqui even denied the existence of ‘casting couches’ in Bollywood, and said he had never personally experienced anything and felt it was all just a plot to defame the “safest place” — Bollywood.

Siddiqui trivialised a movement which exposed the culture of abuse in his industry by brushing it under the carpet. Labelling serious allegations of harassment, verbal and physical abuse, and in some cases even rape, as publicity stunts, not only makes him someone who disregards women, but also someone who is insecure — common trait among men threatened by feminism.

His comments, however, are in sync with Bollywood’s response to the #MeToo wave, as most of those accused are still thriving in the industry.


Also read: Kajol’s comment on ‘true survivors’ of sexual abuse shows she has let down her own film Devi


 

Skeletons in his own closet

Siddiqui’s derisive comments emerge in the wake of his wife, Aaliya, filing for divorce and alleging he humiliated her. She claims the actor’s family physically and mentally tortured her, and has a history of mistreating women.

Siddiqui is yet to respond to these allegations, which came out last month.

Besides the actor’s estranged wife, his niece has also come forward with shocking allegations against Siddiqui’s family. Earlier this month, Siddiqui’s niece filed a sexual harassment case against his brother. She also stated that Nawazuddin gave her no support when she approached him with her story, and refused to believe her claims.

Siddiqui’s snubbing #MeToo doesn’t look so shocking after all.

Disappointed fans

Siddiqui’s attitude towards #MeToo first came as a rude shock not just because of his impeccable acting skills, but also because of his rags-to-riches tale. The small-town born actor’s journey — from playing an extra in movies, to delivering brilliant performances as a lead in projects like Sacred Games and Manto — is inspirational. But there appears to be a huge gap between the actor’s personal struggle and his sensibility.

When an actor is known for doing meaningful cinema, fans tend to expect better of him in real life too.

As a former fan of the actor, I am still struggling to find an answer to the question in my head as to how an artist, known for delivering such mature and sensitive performances on-screen, could have such problematic views.


Also read: AIB Hangover is a reminder of MeToo. Fans deserve closure before Tanmay Bhat moves on


 

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Why are we exactly holding an actor to this moral responsibility ? He is good at his craft and have built a niche for himself . He should be given the space to protect his investments maybe even his personality traits that have been either a direct or an awkward benefactor of the very slithery underworld that the “me too“ fights against. Instead we need to look more closely at the well oiled all powerful nepotistic machinery that once in a while would lets the Nawazuddins have their days in the sun at a price. To really understand the Nawazuddins of the system one need to get an appraisal of that price. He is an excellent actor and lets just hold him accountable to that.

  2. Wow Debalina
    ThePrint is helping bring the WOKE movement to India, one journalist at a time. How trivial of a topic to cover, what Nawazuddin said to some second grade medium, but you reported as if it was some moon landing. Dude, were you a fan of his acting, his anecdotes, his struggle or his wokeness?
    Suddenly Nawaz’s opinion are not coherent to you, and you decide “I am not a fan now!”
    What are you 4?
    Who cares if you’re a fan or not? But thank god, you have a platform, you think letting people know of your elaborate opinion might help them choose which star to support. You see the downfall of NYT in US? Atleast it had it’s good times… trust me with articles like these, thePrint will be the equivalent of the worst of NYT.
    Go sob and please stop digging for stuff to push your feminist 1st world narrative contrary to any Indian cultural or nationalistic values, but trust me such articles might land you your dream job in SchoopWhoop in London, but your cognitive valuation would only keep on decreasing.

  3. He cannot speak against the industry and still thrive in it. He is saving his own career and future by not criticizing the industry. Simple !

  4. Though I am an admirer of his work, I have no respect for him as a person. Too callous for him to say such nasty things that he has said in the past. I have seen his video interview where he says that there is no such thing as casting couch. Maybe he has never gone through such experience but SHOULD have been empathetic towards those who have. As someone already said in the comments section that if he is gifted with amazing acting talents doesnt me he is gifted with eqally good sensibilities.

  5. It is a grave error to believe ,that individuals talented in one area, will be blessed with equally good sensibilities.

  6. An actor is just that someone who acts. A cricketer is just that – someone who hits a ball with a bat. When will you realize that these are not enlightened social conscious people with great things to say? You are a fool to expect that – like going to a lawyer for medical treatment or a doctor for legal advice. Please think.

  7. he said what he feels there’s no problem in that maybe he never face casting couch he is telling his experience.

  8. Why am I not surprised? All one has to do is listen to his interviews, they are all over YouTube. I would not blame him entirely though, he is a product of his environment. People with privilege do not get a sensitive, educative environment when growing up. Life has been though for him. One needs good mentors at the right juncture in life. Some are lucky to have them, some aren’t. It is an even bigger challenge, to grow/learn to be empathetic to people once you are successful.

  9. Lady, I understand why you may be upset.
    But he’s an actor. He’s paid money to pretend to be something he isn’t. It may just be a better idea to not have such lofty expectations from this entire tribe.

    They should only be seen for what they are – people with exceptional mirroring ability (like politicians) and not as pillars of society, as we’ve found out in the Covid world.

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