Bollywood star Vidya Balan has revealed the internationally acclaimed actor herself has not remained untouched by the epidemic of sexual harassment of women in India. The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne ambassador indicated that she was ‘groped’ on many occasions during ‘her student years’.
She told Fairfax Media this week that she would often be attacked as she took trains to her college, “and just when you were getting out, you’d get pushed and groped and sometimes pinched. I’d turn back and slap them and sometimes give them a mouthful”.
Her friends apparently did not approve of her fierce reaction, an attitude she carries even today as she voices her strong opinions about women rights in India both through her creativity and writing. The celebrated director told her friends then that she did not see any ‘value in keeping quiet’ and hence, retaliated against the perpetrators with ‘slaps’.
The well-respected director is highly vocal about the condition of women rights in India and has penned articles for leading Indian newspapers.
So far as the controversial Leslee Udwin documentary India’s Daughter is concerned, she thinks it showed “how different people looked at the same issue”, indicating how a fresh perspective of the western film producer took stock of the growing number of rape cases in India.
It angered her, she told Sydney Morning Herald, and ‘reminded’ her that events like that (the rape and subsequent death of young student Jyoti Singh Pandey on a moving New Delhi bus on a cold December night in 2012) ‘continues to happen every day’ in the world’s largest democracy.
The highly talented Bollywood personality is returning to Melbourne for the Melbourne Film Festival of India due to be held from 14 to 27 August.