The #MeToo movement had rocked Hollywood when women came out with horror stories of exploitation and harassment by the top men in show business. Their predatory behaviour was confirmed and reconfirmed as more women gained strength to tell their stories.
The tremors of the movement were felt in Bollywood when women called out journalists, authors, actors and filmmakers for sexual harassment. While the impact may not have been enough to move a mountain, it was enough for men to now be 'careful' out of fear rather than conscience. Some of the prominent names from mainstream Bollywood that faced allegations were Nana Patekar, Alok Nath, Sajid Khan, Vikas Bahl, Rajat Kapoor and MJ Akbar.
On Monday, Bollywood actor Kajol said that now there is a difference in how women on film sets are treated post the #MeToo movement, with men being more conscious of their behaviour and aware of consent.
While talking to reporters, the 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' actress said, “Yes there is a difference. And I wouldn’t say it’s only on film sets. To be very honest, if you ask any man anywhere after the #MeToo movement took a life of its own and embroiled a lot of very well known people in it, I think somewhere down the line, men -- good, bad, indifferent -- took seven steps back.”
While speaking at the screening of the short film Devi, she added, “Everything was and is still being done cautiously and with a lot more thought. I think more than good or bad, there’s a lot of thought put into everybody’s daily interactions whether it’s on a set or in an office environment.”
Shruti Haasan, who was also present at the event said, “Like she (Kajol) said, the awareness that somebody is questioning and you are answerable. That applies to human behaviour in general... Quite honestly, I didn’t think that India would take it to that level, so big and it made me really proud that people had the courage to come out and speak up.” The actress also said that she once saw a co-passager on a flight reading a manual on ‘Physical proximity and how to behave in that space’.