The #MeToo era is empowering more women, especially those in the media industry, to speak out about their horrific sexual harassment experiences.
Shruti Marathe who starred in Naan Avanillai 2 and Guru Sishyan, has opened up about her workplace harassment experience. In a casting couch-like experience, Shruti was unapologetically approached in a sexual manner by a film producer who also said that she will have to “compromise for a night”. Shruti denied the advancement and even stood up for herself by asking “If you want me to sleep with you, who are you making the hero sleep with?”.
Following that, Shruti was removed from the film project for not fulfilling the producer’s requirements. During her struggling days, Shruti was even slut-shamed by internet trolls for sporting a bikini in a Kollywood project.
Shruti made the revelations on an Instagram post shared on The Humans Of Bombay’s Instagram page. It reads,
“I’ve been in this industry since I was 16 years old. Over the years I’ve been celebrated in the limelight & shamed behind the camera. People have a misconception that actors lead a comfortable life & always feel good about themselves–that’s not true. Whether we like it or not, whether we feel right or not, we have to be the best versions of ourselves. There are no ‘bad days’. I remember, early on in my career, for a south film, I was asked to wear a bikini–I agreed without thinking twice. Questions like, ‘How are you going to shoot it?’ or ‘Is it required?’ didn’t even cross my mind. I was getting an opportunity to be in a film & that’s all that mattered!
Years later when I gained popularity in a Marathi show, people looked me up & stumbled upon the bikini scene. I was trolled for the way I looked & how it was shot. Do you know how much that damages your self-esteem? I put myself out there without any barriers–but I wasn’t accepted; I was objectified. I still continued working as if it didn’t bother me.
But I had a dream. I’d worked so hard & was finally moving forward, I wasn’t going to let it go–just because someone else had a problem, they weren’t in my shoes & would never know what it felt like. Slowly, I made myself tougher.
Once I met a producer who’d offered me a lead role. At first he was professional, but soon he began using the words, ‘compromise’ & ‘one night’. I couldn’t let this slip so I asked him, ‘If you want me to sleep with you, who are you making the hero sleep with?’ He was stunned. I immediately informed others of his behaviour & they asked him to leave the project.
All it took was one minute of being fearless–that day, I didn’t just stand up for me… I stood up for every woman who’s been objectified & judged for simply being who she is; for simply being ambitious. Why should the archaic rules of society & today’s so-called modern world stop me? My clothes don’t define me–my talent does, my hard work does, my success does & I think it’s high time, people realise that.”
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