Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consecte adipi. Suspendisse ultrices hendrerit a vitae vel a sodales. Ac lectus vel risus suscipit sit amet hendrerit a venenatis.
12, Some Streeet, 12550 New York, USA
(+44) 871.075.0336
Follow Us

Taking a stand

When I was studying at Pune University, one day we heard of a Mumbai television unit that was shooting on the campus. I trooped off to go see the action and I stood there watching Vinta Nanda directing. I remember seeing her as this exuberant, energetic director and wondering if I had to shed being soft spoken and shy to become a director myself. To me, she represented a strong person who knew where she was going.

A few days ago, when Vinta Nanda revealed her horrific experience I was aghast. I realised that she was far far stronger than I had realised then. But also far far more traumatised than anyone could have imagined. She belonged to the golden age of television where she helmed multiple shows that are still iconic and wielded considerable power. And yet this is what she was going through. Imagine the plight of newcomers and those who are at weaker positions in this ecosystem.

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 20.27.05

Image Courtesy : The News Minute

As women we often are aware of the traumatic stories of harassment that are shared through hushed whispers. Now, with Vinta Nanda sharing her 19 year old experience publicly, the rest of the Mumbai film industry has woken up to reality. They have pledged support to Me Too survivors from the industry.

(Read here https://www.ndtv.com/entertainment/after-vinta-nanda-reveals-rape-trauma-producers-guild-pledges-support-for-metoo-survivors-1929248)

In swift action the Producers Guild have set up a special committee for the same (Read here – https://www.ndtv.com/entertainment/producers-guild-sets-up-a-special-committee-to-help-metoo-survivors-1930080) Networks like Hotstar are cancelling successful shows made by alleged perpetrators. Film Festivals like MAMI are dropping films by alleged perpetrators. Companies like Phantom Films are shutting down to avoid working with alleged perpetrators. Actors like Aamir Khan are walking out of films engaging alleged perpetrators. The actor organisation CINTAA is sending a show-cause notice threatening expulsion to their member – an alleged perpetrator and they have extended full support to the Survivor (who is not their member).

(Read here https://www.indiatoday.in/television/top-stories/story/cintaa-notice-alok-nath-sushant-singh-full-support-1359089-2018-10-09)

By such powerful action the Mumbai Film Industry are taking a stand – that such violations are NOT acceptable in this industry.

In 2017, a woman actor who was actively working in the Malayalam film industry for 15 years, was sexually assaulted. She spoke up about her experience (as soon as it happened) and filed a police complaint and is taking things ahead to ensure the culprits are brought to book legally.  Kerala is home-ground to powerful film bodies, many of whom have shown strong solidarity with one another. Not to forget powerful actors and powerful writers & makers whose work has won international acclaim from the world.

And yet…  where is the proactive action supporting the survivors?

This too is a stand. A highly disturbing one.


Comments: 19

  • Jerin George October 11, 20188:56 pm

    നന്നായിട്ടുണ്ട് .. ! ഹലോ മേഡം/അഞ്ജലി ചേച്ചി ,, പുതിയ പടത്തിൽ വരികളെഴുതുവാൻ ഒരവസരം തരാമോ ? ഇഷ്ടമായാൽ പരിഗണിയ്ക്കുമോ ? നന്ദി.

  • Konat Venugopal October 11, 20189:17 pm

    Influence of crime and black money and crime lords having their sway on film production has been an important factor. There are a few artists whose ambition to hit the big screen compel them to make compromises. Another factor is the long time soent at shooting locations develop many type of relationships, wherher one agree or not. Having said that to blame only men and to give a clean chit to all women is also wrong. Knowig few instances from social contexts, there is another side of the story which can’t be narrated openly.
    Another factor is the overall standards of artists and the way in which they hve to survive in a “man eating man” industry. All norms of morality are thrown to the wind where name, fame and financial success become the benchmark for measuring success.

  • manjunambiarblog October 12, 201812:35 am

    Absolutely agree here!

    Along with the media, its very important for each and every one of us to take a stand in any social issue. The mass is always more powerful than an organization. If we as individuals continue to show our protests and thought process in a modest humble manner by voicing our our thoughts in the social media, by not going to watch the movies of the perpetrators, or by talking against the hecklers and bad-mouthing who use foul language to shut down a person or a thought in the public media, a LOT can be achieved.
    As SRK once popularly said, “Never underestimate the power of a common man!”

  • adhyapika October 12, 201811:59 am

    The scale of exploitation of women in the entertainment industry is astounding. I had not thought it was so rampant, until the outpouring of women surfaced online recently. Where does that leave our future generations? What options do they have? Will the ‘me too’ movement be a deterrent to sexual predators, it is too early to say anything. But I am glad that influential role models like yourself have chosen to speak about this openly.

  • Konat Venugopal October 12, 20182:46 pm

    More than a sexual assault it was a conspiracy to finish off a woman from cinema and might be from life. Giving quotation to rape and humiliate a woman is the worst that can be tolerated by any sensible society . The incident has similarity to what has been done even to male actors like Tilakan & director Vinayan. Are these organisations operating in democratic India? Or under what legal protection they operate freely undemocratically and unconstitutionLly?

  • Usha Pisharody October 12, 201810:12 pm

    Well said!
    Now to get specific, hopefully. And more. That what is said is heard. And more. That measures to address this are set in action… And more. May it put the fear of…. whatever… in them.

    Thank you

  • mainframedown October 13, 201812:36 am

    Kerala is the land where nobody has any shame when others call them liars. Because telling a lie is their day-to-day business. I am wondering how much tonnes of lies may have been told in a day by an average man in Kerala! And that’s why when a serious allegation comes, a prominent man can laugh at it simply saying that he does not remember anything and his wife comes forward to justify him with some polished lies. The same thing happened in 2017 when a well-known actress had been brutally raped. How many tonnes of lies had been vomited out on that series of events? Even the prominent actors like Mohan Lal has puked a lot of lies, and still, it is going on.

  • Rita October 13, 201810:52 pm

    Things are not too different in the US of A. Worth watching


  • Rajesh October 15, 20183:52 pm

    Dear Maam, I was wondering, why you were never making a post of what happened in 2017. Better late than Never. Thank you.
    India has been slaves of Brahminism and those obsessed by Brahminism. So even if Malayalam cinema excessively represents Nairs (who are hardly 14% of population but obsessed by Brahminism), our movies and almost everything around it has been anti women.
    No one would agree in Kerala, but Malayaalees too idolise our male stars and what they shout on the screen are swallowed as life truths. I remember when Vadakkan Veeragadha released, that particular dialogue by Chandu (Sthree – nee chirichu kondu karayum and so on..), was so so much talked about and I remember how it was used by many men to show how truthful it is about women (as if men don’t cheat!!!). Almost every Malayalam cinema, even now, will have something about how a proper woman has to be etc. Hardly anyone tried to point out that all these derogatory comments were written down by men, who were brought up in an extremely patriarchal culture and who sincerely believed men had the right to do what they want and so on.
    It is so shocking and sad that even in the backgrounds of the cinema world, life for female artists were horrible, and many of them had gone through terrible experiences.
    I wish you all, female artists who are raising your voices against those misogynist pigs in AMMA, all the courage in this world. You are all my ‘Heroes’

    What I really hope for is Malayaali women to come out and say that we are not going to watch the cinema of these shameless actors and directors. But I know it will never happen as this is Kerala. We see our women, even if pushed by communal and political organisations, come out and protest against stopping a ‘few decades’ long ‘ancient’ tradition, which categorized women as impure! When 69% of educated women in Kerala believes that their husband has the right to slap and control the wife, expecting them to speak out for wider issues would be stupid.
    Hence my sincere salutes to all of you who do act!!!

      • Rajesh October 15, 20186:10 pm

        🙂 Sure I did maam and know what you mean 🙂
        Its more than high time for change… but…. mmmmm Even when Bollywood acts, why nothing here.. You heard what some so called ‘journalists’ asked in your last Press briefing about AMMA.. mmmmm in 2018 !!!!!!!!????
        I hear the comments of some very ‘educated’ women about all of you and am afraid these journalists and women don’t represent a minority.
        For them RESPECT is supposed to be a one way traffic and women don’t deserve it.
        Am sorry, my English is not good enough to clearly express what I want. But My Support for what you do.

        • Rajesh October 15, 20187:14 pm

          Dear Maam,
          Am really sorry. I completely misunderstood your reply. I didnt realise you were talking about another post of yours and hence that comment.. Apologies.
          If you like to you may delete my reply to your comment.
          Warn regards

  • cowardlyass October 18, 20181:24 pm

    “This too is a stand. A highly disturbing one.” very…and i don’t want my kids to take a lesson from that. they need to see how a fight for the Truth looks like, but then there is my truth and your truth…how do we know which one is The Truth?

    I want to see people fight for their truth with dignity and honor, which I believe is the only man made concepts that is truly a man’s invention, and they conveniently put it on women to bear or not to bear like they deem appropriate and as they deem fits well into their narration.

    I beg you, Ms Menon, own your narrative, because i heard my kid saying the other day when he saw all of you on the tele, why are the women yelling and the men not…

    As of now, the narrative is all over the place, it should be one place, in the hands of the people/person whose Truth it is.

    the consequences of that Truth is not ours to stand up for…its for the destiny of the web-spinners to spin it out…

      • cowardlyass October 21, 201811:49 am

        Unfortunately, Ms Menon, I can only teach my kids the colours. Its up to them to decide what the shades are. If the True colours need to emerge for everyone to see, make sure you are not intentionally or accidentally diluting yours. As of now, all of you out in the spot light is holding out a beacon for generations of girls to speak up and be heard.
        Hope the gravity is not lost on you and your colleagues. Like its said, if a man falls its just him, but if a woman does…its on the entire gender…
        I can only hope the platform is used wisely…and to look beyond immediate change to a cultural shift in attitude and reasoning.

      • Meena March 21, 20199:06 pm

        Well said..

  • Pingback: Taking a stand — Anjali Menon – നയന October 26, 20186:57 pm
  • Sivas R December 21, 201810:05 pm

    Hi, I am sorry if I am asking this off topic to the blog you have posted.
    But you mentioned that you were soft spoken and shy,

    I am an Introvert Myself , and I want to be a Film Director someday. Due to my character being Introverted ,I don`t have conversation with some one new I meet . And I am not Energetic to say the least. I won`t talk to anyone, unless they start the conversation. And I know these are the qualities that a Director should not have. Mainly some of my old friends used to say that I am killing the mood , when they are all partying hard and I will be sitting in the corner silently(This happened when we went to school Tour) .When I say to them , that my Character is like this and I usually don`t jump around energetically and be surrounded by 3 or 4 friends all the time.I only have ONE good friend that`s more than enough for me. And They say that I am different and that I should change and be like them.Involve and talk with others ,be the person that I am NOT. It is like forcing myself to a guy, I don`t want to be.

    And My Question to you is:
    But seeing you mention yourself as soft spoken and shy, I presume it is the same as some of My characteristics. And I would like to know ,How you became to be the person you are today, And how did you have conversation with Actors,Producers and the rest of the People.
    I am just 23 years of age,Male, I am at a point in my life now, that I should act like someone else atleast while directing the movie. what do you think? I am talking about myself this much ,only because this is through an electronic mail.

Leave a Comment