Women actors, even struggling ones, stand to lose their careers and worse, not being believed if they aren't well-known.

Watch Kalki Koechlin on why women in Bollywood dont speak about sexual harassmentKalki Koechlin/PTI
Social Women Monday, January 15, 2018 - 13:08

Kalki Koechlin, Bollywood actor and outspoken feminist, has been known not to mince words when speaking about gender bias and sexism in Bollywood.

In the wake of the #MeToo campaign which rocked Hollywood and social media, it has been asked why Bollywood, another major film industry in the world, hasn’t had a similar awakening.

In a video shot for BBC News, Kalki spoke about why there was such a resounding silence in the Hindi film industry regarding sexual harassment. She not only critiques the superficial media culture of hyping sexual assault when it comes from a known name, but also humanises actors who have been victims.

Kalki talks about the challenges women face in speaking about the issue. For starters, she says, “No one listens to you when you’re a nobody. If you’re a celebrity and you talk about it, it only becomes a shocking headline.”

For many, their careers are on the line which is what compels them to be silent. They also have hundreds of people throwing their opinions at them, without bothering to listen.

“I know several girls who are newcomers in Bollywood – struggling, going for auditions, who are constantly being discriminated because of the way they look,” Kalki points out, reiterating the well-known fact that women’s appearance often precedes all else in the film industry.

All these issues are neither being reported, nor researched, she says.

Watch the full video here:

What works for this video is that it juxtaposes what Kalki is saying with visuals of her getting ready, travelling and facing the cameras.

Kalki’s verbal testimony stands out in contrast to the glamourous image of the film industry and points to the darkness underneath the glitter.

The actor, who has spoken about being sexually abused as a child before, also says that even if an actor takes the difficult decision to speak about sexual harassment, the emotional pressure that the aftermath and media attention puts on you can be overwhelming.