With the MeToo movement encouraging several women to share their experiences of sexual abuse at workplace, the film industry is also no exception. The latest to add her voice to the movement is actor Yashika Anand.
Speaking at an event in Chennai, Yashika, who rose to fame with her role in Iruttu Arayil Muruttu Kuthu, shared instances of sexual misconduct she had faced. One of them, she said, involved a prominent director, who is considered a father figure and a big star in the Tamil film industry. “I do not wish to name him now because it was difficult for me to overcome the experience. I am now over it,” she said.
Yashika narrated that the incident occurred when she auditioned for a role. “He had asked me to wait outside while he spoke to my mother. He told her that if I wanted to do this role, I had to sleep with him. That’s when I wondered why people take advantage of their positions,” she said.
Yashika asserted that women have to show their collective strength to change perspectives.
She added that she has always stood up to those who harassed her in public. “Once, when someone assaulted me in public, I kicked him back. Another time, there was a police officer in my area who made me feel unsafe. He was removed after I filed a complaint,” she said.
Yashika also shared that about a year ago a video of a police officer asking a woman for her “rate” was circulated online. “I was the woman in that video. We filed a case against it but nothing has happened so far. Complaints too don’t work most times. I believe self-defense is the best thing,” she said.
Speaking about ‘casting couch’ – a euphemism for sexual harassment in the film industry - Yashika stated, “Let’s have professionalism and not go through this way and work (sic). Not everybody is wrong but this (sexual harassment) should be removed from Tamil industry and all the other industries.”
Yashika was recently seen in Anand Shankar’s Nota. She became a household name in Tamil Nadu soon after her participation in the second season of the reality TV Show, Bigg Boss Tamil.