By Ila Ananya
“I write this not out of spite, but out of disgust and a fair bit of helplessness for I have become yet another victim of the way women are objectified by certain kind of men in an industry,” Avantika Shetty, who acted in Rangitaranga, wrote on Twitter on 3rd June. Her note, which she posted as a response to allegations by K Suresh (producer of her upcoming film Raju Kannada Medium) about her character, shows how she felt like she was objectified on the sets, and was kicked off the film without pay.
I hope no other girl has to go through this………….. pic.twitter.com/JX4roj1WcN
— Avantika Shetty (@avantikashetty1) June 3, 2017
The problems Shetty mentions in her post are those that we’ve heard whispered often, but range from objectification, to having her salary cheque bounce, and suddenly being dropped from the shoot in Bangkok because she was told she had only given an average performance. While K Suresh claims that he had to incur losses because Shetty wasn’t available on the dates he wanted to shoot, Shetty herself contests this, saying that she had had a conversation with the producer, who said they were willing to adjust their schedule.
Shetty writes that the problems started from the first day, when she “sensed that it wasn’t [her] performance the producer and director were really bothered about.” In an interview with The New Indian Express, she said more than what she wrote in her tweet — that various people in the film unit kept trying to touch her and made unwanted comments, and when she reported this to the film’s director, he dismissed it telling her they could “discuss it later”.
Then she pointed out that when she objected to the clothes she was being forced to wear, she was told, “Bombay artistes do everything, why can’t you.” It reminds us a bit of Tamil filmmaker G Suraaj’s comments about actor Tamannaah, when he coolly claimed, “When the designer comes with knee-length outfits, I call him aside and order him to shorten it. If he tells me that madam [the heroine] will protest, I tell him to handle her. The audience will kick me otherwise.”
Currently, Shetty has filed a case against Suresh, and has also written a letter to the Karnataka Film Chamber. In turn, Suresh has submitted a similar letter to the film chamber, asking them to unbelievably, ban Shetty from the industry for one or two years. It seems like everyone is just out there to prove that women in their movies are only there as objects to be stared at, rather than for their work.