In a recent roundtable interview, Indian journalist Rajeev Masand spoke to Bollywood’s leading actresses Deepika Padukone, Rani Mukerji, Tabu, Anushka Sharma, Taapse Pannu and Alia Bhatt about the success of their groundbreaking roles in recent films.
One particular instance from the show, however, has left many viewers baffled: While talking about the #MeToo movement, Rani Mukerji suggested that women should protect themselves and take their own responsibility instead of expecting men to change.
When asked if there has been a fundamental change after the movement took Bollywood by storm, Alia replied, “There has, but I also have a fear related to that; I hope that this does not become another reason to not employ women.”
To which Anushka added, “There should be a sense of fear [in men] as your workplace should be the second safest place for you after your home.”
It was all fine till Rani chipped in. “I think it’s important for women to believe in themselves and say if they don’t want this to happen, it will not happen. And if they are ever in a situation like that, they should make sure that the man suffers right there and then. Like either kick him between his legs or give him a jhappar of his lifetime so it makes him fearful of doing this to ladies here forth. I think you have to have the courage to protect yourself and to be able to say it,” she said.
When Deepika responded by saying there are a lot of women who aren’t constructed like that and who feel cornered, Rani continued, “Those are the women we need to talk to and tell them that ‘yar you guys need to change’.”
At this point, Anushka interrupted Rani and pointed out, “That’s again talking about what women should change rather than the other way round.”
Rani, however, didn’t stop there. “But Anushka, in life, we cannot always depend on how the other person is going to behave with us. We have to take responsibility of our own selves.” She then came up with the brilliant idea of teaching martial arts to young girls so they can defend themselves. “You cannot go and tell hundreds of mothers out there how they have to bring up their children. Because it happens right there. It is women who is making these boys who are doing this…. I feel it’s important that let’s at least start with making yourselves responsible enough to protect yourselves first.”
People are visibly disappointed with Rani’s comments on the movement:
Someone please stop her. I have always admired #RaniMukherjee as an actor, but her thought process on #MeToo is repulsive. Also, @RajeevMasand is the moderator….why is Rani in control? Kudos to @aliaa08 @deepikapadukone @AnushkaSharma for confidently putting their point across. https://t.co/hsD9LuwcFd
— SophiaQ (@SophiaAQ) December 30, 2018
as for #RaniMukherjee you have a daughter yourself.. at what age are you going to start teaching her martial arts to protect her from predators? You wouldn’t have to because you come from a privileged background and your daughter will be brought up in one too
— M U H A M M A D ALI (@alleearain) December 30, 2018
— અઇશુ¹²²⁶ (@tvfxq0141) December 30, 2018
— Rachel White (@whitespeaking) December 30, 2018
You can listen to Rani’s unsettling comments here: