Speaking at Democracy Wall, Dutta says naming and shaming sexual harassers doesn’t help in Bollywood.
New Delhi: As the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment gains acceptance in Hollywood, actor Divya Dutta Thursday said names will come out from Bollywood too, but it will take a few years.
Dutta said naming and shaming people, when it comes to sexual harassment, doesn’t help. “Yes we are not naming people because it doesn’t take you anywhere. You have to be aware, you need to learn how to say no,” she said.
Dutta was in conversation with Manasi Phadke, associate editor at ThePrint, at the seventh edition of Democracy Wall.
Democracy Wall is a monthly free speech campus initiative organised by ThePrint in collaboration with Facebook. The event at KC College, Mumbai, featured Dutta, Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam, rapper Kekho Thiamkho, social activist and filmmaker Archana Kapoor and comedian Abijit Ganguly.
Dutta, who won her first National Award in the ‘best supporting actress’ category for her performance in the film Irada this year, said Bollywood was not immune to the #MeToo, movement with women in the Indian film industry talking about it as well.
On tolerance and the freedom to express oneself, Dutta claimed the digital space had helped create a suitable environment. “Now there is freedom where there never was,” she said.
She added that the digital space also helped spread more awareness on important social issues.
“If I raise an issue, it is picked up immediately by someone else and help reaches. It’s making the world smaller, more aware, more connected. These are definitely better times,” Dutta said.
Asked about nepotism, the latest buzzword in Bollywood, Dutta listed a slew of actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra, some of the biggest names and so-called ‘outsiders’ as well.
“Maybe nepotism affects the first two roles you get but after that it is your own journey,” she said.
Dutta also spoke about the kind of films that Bollywood should be making, saying they should have a balance of both entertainment and important issues.
“It has to be all of everything. It has to be entertainment, have another larger than life reality out there and then bring in a nice message, which is not in your face,” she said.
On never being typecast
The acclaimed actor also explained how she managed to make it big in an industry known to be tough on unknown faces.
“Coming from a family of doctors, becoming an actor was my act of freedom of thought, of wanting to do what I wanted and of chasing my dreams,” she said, adding that her mother was the one who gave her the courage to keep fighting for what she wanted.
She also said that she never took the stereotypical route to becoming an actor, and took on small roles whenever they came by and avoided being typecast by directors, at all costs.
“Veer Zaara (2004) began my journey to proving myself with roles that weren’t really the ones I wanted to do. I had no choice but to prove myself. I had freedom in just that much and I had to make those roles an x-factor,” she said.