The news is actor Alok Nath is playing the role of a judge in a movie that talks of #metoo harassments. Apparently, Alok Nath makes an impassioned monologue against women being molested.
As you read this, irony is running fast headlong into an onrushing train and committing suicide. For Alok Nath, in real life, has been accused of raping writer-producer Vinta Nanda; he filed a criminal defamation against her in the wake of the allegation, and the case is still in court.
That such a man gets to play a such a character is a case of life cocking a snook at the rest of us. But levity apart, it is disturbing to note that some of the #MeToo villains, after lying low for some time, are now emerging out of the woodwork and getting back to their original places.
Their undignified silence for a bit is the only price that most of these malcontents seem to have paid. That is a shame, especially in a country which prides itself on its culture, and supposedly values ‘name and dignity’ above everything else.
“Here or anywhere else, men mostly go scot-free,” says Shruthi Saxena, a PR executive in Mumbai. “Women have to endure trauma for the acts of men, who just move on. It is an unfair life.”
Shruthi is right. Even in America, the Harvey Weinstein case, which opened the #MeToo floodgates, is still dragging on. And the man accused has the temerity to fill his legal defence team with more women lawyers. It is a cruel chutzpah.
In India, many of the high-profile accused offenders are also going about their business with nary a worry. Guys like Nana Patekar, Nawazuddin Siddiqui continue to find work and there is no public outcry against them.
And then, journalist Priya Ramani, whose accusations against former Minister-Journalist MJ Akbar, opened a can of worms, has just been granted bail. Yeah, she is the complainant, and he is the accused. But she had to seek bail. Go figure.
Down South, things are far worse. Singer and dubbing artiste Chinmayi Sripada (she has sung in Hindi movies like Chennai Express, too) has been expelled from the dubbing union just because she (and a few others) has laid sexual harassment charges against the dubbing union secretary Radha Ravi. National award-winning lyricist Vairamuthu, who is also accused of misbehaviour by Chinmayi, is feeling none the worse as he gets invited to functions, while Chinmayi is running from pillar to post trying to file formal police complaint against him.
Kannada and Tamil actress Shruthi Hariharan is finding herself without any work in the field, while actor Arjun sarja whom she accused of bodily violations during film shooting, has seen no deleterious effect on his career.
In Malayalam, actresses like Parvathi say that offers seem to her have dried up after she took up the cause of a fellow actress who suffered sexual molestation by rowdies allegedly at the behest of actor Dileep. As it happens, Dileep, who is on bail, had a movie release last week, and the movie is reportedly doing decent business.
“All this makes one sick in the stomach,” says Krithika K, a beautician in Thiruvananthapuram. “Our efforts over all these months have not had any effect. The guilty are still roaming free. It is a tragedy.”
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