While it is no doubt heartening to see many victims of sexual harassment come forward with their chilling accounts in the hands of Bollywood's renowned predators, it is sad that the really big names are mum.
Yes, mum. Some of them are married, have families to think about. Others have moved on and given a closure to their brutal experiences. Swara Bhaskar recently said she won't name (and shame) the director who hounded her on a long outdoor shoot because "he isn't doing anything".
Meaning, if he was successful, it would be more befitting to pull him up for his wrongdoings? This logic works with the A-list actresses who have made it big and see no reason to dig up dirt from their past.
"What is the point?" a top leading lady asked me when I advised her to out her harasser. "He was a force to reckon with back then. Now he's anonymous. I am successful. Karma has evened out the odds. Why add spice to the media reportage? They are already enjoying themselves calling out big names."
Sushmita Sen and Bipasha Sen are two leading ladies who had traumatizing experiences with their harasser on the sets of two films that they starred in. Both the ladies now have only one thing to say - Forget it.
Recently, the very spunky Soni Razdan came forth with her MeToo story, stating that she had almost been raped when she was a newcomer. She kept quiet over the assault because "nothing happened" and the man had a family, including young children.
Diluting the irreparable damage of a sexual assault, the big names in the Indian entertainment business are quiet because they have everything to lose.
A veteran producer who has seen it all and confesses to associating with several starlets at the beginning of their careers, feels there is a very thin line between consensual sex and violation when it comes to the activities on the casting couch.
"Girls are very clear about what they want and how they get it. Many of them become big stars and clearly put their compromised pasts behind them," says the producer, adding that many heroines who are in the top league today were known to have been sexually compromised by many bigwigs.
"One of today's biggest names globally, was said to be exploited by a powerful father and son duo in Bollywood. She would never speak about them. She knew what she was doing, and why. Those women who are today talking in the MeToo movement are the ones who made that compromise and still didn't get anywhere," says the producer.
A beautiful young foreigner, now one of the top actresses of Bollywood, was in a relationship with one of the primary accused in the MeToo movement. Sources close to the actress say she had seen it all. She kept quiet then. She's keeping quiet now.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)