The Harvey Weinstein scandal shook the entertainment industry — not just Hollywood but back home too. While several Indian actors shared their opinion on how sexual exploitation in return for work needs to stop, no one really pointed towards its concrete existence in Bollywood. However, actor Shenaz Treasury of Delhi Belly (2011) fame has spoken up.
Asked if she feels that Bollywood also has such people who take undue advantage in the name of giving work, Shenaz says, “Absolutely. There are Harvey Weinsteins in all walks of life and especially in the entertainment industry where the power-balance is tilted in favour of men.”
The actor, who was seen in the recently released Kaalakaandi, might not have been doing mainstream Bollywood films, and is mostly busy working in the West, but she reveals that she hasn’t been spared from the ways of the entertainment industry in India.
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Not hiding the ugly truth, she goes on to admit, “I have had experiences where the director has asked me to meet for a drink or to come party with him or just to “hangout”. I have lost some roles because I refused to go to Madh Island to hang out. Yes, there are many Harvey’s around here [in Bollywood]. And I hope we can start taking names soon.”
But one wonders why no one’s naming the accused? The actor draws a comparison to the West and states, “There is a fear amongst Indian actors to take names because they do not want to be ostracized from Bollywood. That level of power that women now have in the West is still not here in India, but is coming soon. There is still a lot of patriarchy in this country.”
Explaining her point, she recalls how an article that she wrote a few years ago drew a lot of flak from various sectors of the society. “I wrote what it was like growing up as a female in India and I got two and a half million shares and people came up to me and thanked me for speaking up. Yet, there were still many who tore me to pieces and slut shamed me for speaking up. And a lot of those people were women. So, there is an ingrained sense of patriarchy still in our country,” says Shenaz.