Tamil and Marathi actress Shruti Marathe has opened up about a sexual harassment episode. While talking to Humans of Bombay, the actress spoke on the struggles of being under the limelight while citing a few painful experiences.
"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! [sic]" she was quoted as saying on the Instagram page of Humans of Bombay.
She also recalls how an old picture in a bikini became a subject of a trolling. The actress says, "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 [sic]," she added.
Finally, she reveals about her casting couch experience without naming the producer, who approached her for a sexual favour in return for casting in a film.
"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," the actress concluded.
The actress had started her career with a Marathi film called Sanai Choughade and was part of Tamil films like Indira Vizha and Naan Avanillai 2.
In recent years, there have been many people from the film industry who have taken courage to speak about sexual harassment issues. Notably, the #MeToo campaign exposed a lot of names.
Down south, Vairamuthu, Raghu Dixit, Arjun Sarja and many other have faced the allegations.