Sexual Harassment Is Rampant in the TV Industry: Shilpa Shinde

Shilpa Shinde of Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain fame gets candid about sexual harassment in the TV industry.

Television actor Shilpa Shinde created a stir in the entertainment industry when she accused the producer of her hit television sitcom Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain, of sexual harassment. The first of the three high-profile sexual harassment cases registered against entertainment software producers this year, may come to a closure sooner than expected.

Apparently Shinde has been getting feelers to opt for a settlement. Sighing more out of cynicism than weariness the actor says,

Shilpa Shinde, TV ActorI find it very strange that very few people in the television industry have actually come forward to  support me. Instead they are making me  sound like some kind of a trouble-maker.

She is evidently referring to fellow actor Kavita Kaushik, who has questioned Shinde’s decision to come out in the open about her harassment, a year after it happened.

Shilpa ShindeWhy after a year? Why not?! Would she (Kavita Kaushik) have supported me if I had spoken out earlier? I don’t think so. We all have our own inbuilt notions of what is right and wrong male attention. What may seem improper to me, may appear to be quite common and acceptable to other women. Each woman has her own threshold of what is acceptable and unacceptable male attention. And every woman gets a different kind of attention. Even Saumya Tandon, my former co-star from Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain, is in a different zone of understanding what is proper and improper behaviour. Her talent and beauty is different from mine. And the way she handles these qualities is entirely her look-out.

Coming back to Kavita Kaushik , Shinde reveals,

Shilpa ShindeI know for a fact that even she had problems with the same producer, though I suppose of a different kind. How she dealt with them, or what action she took, is her business. I am dealing with my problem. The problem of harassment is rampant in the television industry. If others want to speak in my support, fine. If they don’t want to, it is still fine with me.

She wonders where all the rational sensible voices in the entertainment industry have vanished to.

Shilpa ShindeThere is a lot of mental harassment faced by us television artistes. At what point it becomes sexual harassment is entirely up to the individual’s definition of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Poor Pratyusha Bannerjee lost her life when she couldn’t cope with the stress. Should I have committed suicide also? What good would it have done? Where were Pratyusha’s well-wishers when she was alive and in pain? Maybe  if they had come forward to help her then she’d be alive today.

In any case Shilpa Shinde doesn’t want to create the impression of exaggerating the issue.

Shilpa ShindeI am  doing what I think is right for me. Now I am being told to collect my dues of Rs 30-32 lakh and end the matter. Arrey! This is not about money. I am not relishing the idea of attending unending court sessions. I am open to a proper closure. I was made to leave the show (Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain) when my character in the serial was a major scene stealer. Even today my catchline from the serial “sahi pakde hain” is used by people. They loved my character in Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain. But I wasn’t shown the respect I deserved by the producers.