Film sets safer today for women: Kajol

Justin Rao

Mumbai, Mar 3 (PTI) With most production houses constituting a team to address complaints of any form of harassment, actor Kajol believes film sets have become safer workspace for women.

The actor said people from the fraternity, including production houses, need to 'police' their own and ensure a healthy working environment.

'Right now, film sets are pretty safe. Our production house and a lot of others have put teams together to deal with people coming up to them with any kind of complaints. A film set is not a very big area. Everyone knows everything that's happening.

'There's not much that you can really keep a secret. But we have to police our own, there's nobody from outside who's going to come in (and check). Each production house has to take responsibility and work through it,' Kajol told PTI in an interview.

The Hindi film industry has often come under scanner for its gender imbalance -- both on screen and off screen.

The 45-year-old actor said the industry is 'slowly' moving in the right direction.

'The world is gender imbalanced, not particularly the industry. But we are getting better. My short film 'Devi' had an all women cast, our cinematographer was a woman. 'I've just finished working with Renuka (Shahane) as well, another female director and I'm really happy about that. We are indeed progressing in that direction.' Kajol currently features in the short film, 'Devi', which depicts how nine women belonging to different strata of society are brought together by circumstance and end up forming a sisterhood after they share their stories of abuse.

Directed by Priyanka Banerjee, the short is produced by Niranjan Iyengar and Ryan Ivan Stephen.

Kajol said the conversation around abuse has been consistently happening but asked why it took a crime of Nirbhaya gangrape-murder-like proportions for people to stand up against atrocity.

''Devi' is the kind of statement you want to make to men and women. It's meant for people to take notice and start talking. The conversation has been going on but we always look at it with a tired acceptance of what's happening. It takes something big, like a Nirbhaya, for us to stand up as a country,' she added.

'Why does it take that kind of an atrocity for us to stand up and say so far but no further?' she questioned.

The actor said road to change was still quite long.

'It takes a lot to change societal mindsets, traditions that have been beaten down over centuries. The first mindset which needs to be changed is the woman's, before anybody else can even come to the picture. You have to realise a victim is as victim does. Don't be one, you won't be seen as one.

The short film also features Shruti Haasan, Neha Dhupia, Neena Kulkarni, Mukta Barve, Shivani Raghuvanshi, Yashaswini Dayama, Sandhya Mhatre and Rama Joshi. PTI JUR RDS RDS