I remember groaning loudly last year when Karan Johar and Aamir Khan—ensconced in their gaudy, velvet couches on the sets of Koffee with Karan—shook their heads sadly and said they were constantly worried if another man would be accused of harassment and what would that do to his life. Johar made a flustered sound and said how, at the peak of the #MeToo movement in India, he woke up every day dreading which man’s life would be in shambles next. Honestly, I don’t worry that much about dengue even when a mosquito is buzzing around me. And I live in Delhi.
If Bollywood’s initial reaction to the serious allegations of abuse and assault that were emerging at the time was to go all ’hum saath saath hain’, it’s hardly surprising that almost a year later, the men named as perpetrators are back in everyone’s good graces (especially Khan’s). It’s par for the course too, that the first Bollywood film to engage with the movement featured the man as the victim.
To maintain the status quo and protect the privileged, it is essential to distort what a progressive movement is about and make the perpetrators of abuse look like the actual sufferers.
What takes this irresponsibility to a bizarre level is when platforms use the pretext of an important issue like sexual harassment to make a soft porn series out of it.
But here we are, discussing a web series called #MeToo: Wolf of Bollywood, helpfully categorised as ‘erotica’ on the streaming app called Ullu. If nothing else, props for the platform’s self-aware name.
#MeToo opens as the preparations for a wedding are in full swing. The ‘hero’, played by television star Vivan Bhatena, is kissing his onscreen fiancée, when a woman’s body falls with a loud thud on the ground on the stage. The dead woman is Sana, a Bollywood starlet who used to be friends with Bhatena. When the police find a yellow notepad with ‘Me Too’ scrawled over it, Bhatena sets off to find out what Sana meant by Me Too. Okay, seems...