Bollywood Hungama
Last Updated 11.12.2017 | 8:09 PM IST
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“We are a weak industry for we can’t stand up for ourselves” – Dia Mirza

“We are a weak industry for we can’t stand up for ourselves” - Dia Mirza

“As a woman in this country, I fear for my safety and security,” said Dia Mirza in a heartfelt conversation with Bollywood Hungama’s Faridoon Shahryar. Talking about the unsavoury incidents surrounding the whole Padmavati mess, Dia talks about the vulnerabilities of a filmmaker that makes them come across as weak. She comes down heavily on the people who are blatantly breaking the law and harming the dignity of a woman in the name of a woman (fictional or real) and getting away with it. She also backs Deepika Padukone in the strongest possible terms.

The film industry is going through a tumultuous phase. Some people within the film industry would want us to believe that all is hunky dory but it is not. A filmmaker is being threatened that he will be beheaded. An actress is being threatened that her nose will be chopped off.
It is a misplaced idea of honour, dignity, history or what is right. If you would really care for the honour of women why would you be attacking the dignity and honour of a woman who is living, in the name of someone who’s possibly fictional, possibly lived. We don’t know for sure. We are willing as a society to allow people to walk free, it’s a criminal offence to (on national television) to ask for the head of a human being, man or a woman.

Sword is being flashed on national television.
The fact that we are even allowing such discourse to take place is disgusting because we are empowering these creatures, these individuals by giving them an opportunity to demonstrate such aggression and criminal action on national TV. And then no action is being taken against such people which makes it even worse. What makes it worse is that we are such a fragile and weak industry that we can’t stand up for ourselves. That is most shameful. Ye to kah ke chale chale gaye, hum ne kya kiya. Hum FIRs kyun nahin file kar rahe, hum action kyun nahin le rahe. They misuse us time and time again. They see us as soft targets, not because we are soft targets but we have become soft targets. And that happens because to make and release a film is such an enormous pressure; so much money is riding on it. It doesn’t come easily to us. It’s so difficult to raise funds to make a film. There are so many lives invested in making that film that ultimate motive for any filmmaker is that kisi na kisi tarah vo film theatre tak bus pahuch jaaye. If we face problems on that route, then we shall allow them, because we just want to ensure that the film reaches the theatre. That’s our weakness. We are not some major Corporation or a thriving business that’s making thousands of crores a year.

Dia Mirza questions the askew gender equations that encourage Harvey Weinsteins of show world1

But you’re worth 28% GST so then you guys must be making tons of money or that’s what they believe. It’s considered to be a sin industry.
No we aren’t. The fact of the matter Faridoon is that eventually the finances and economics are driving us, driving every choice. Why are we quiet because we don’t want to sabotage the release of the film. I am sure there are enough women in the industry who want to say that arrest those people, how dare these people walk free! As a woman in this country I fear for my safety and security. We don’t say it because we don’t want to sabotage anybody’s opportunity to seek that journey to the theatre.

Aamir Khan said two years back that it is the job of the government to ensure that people should feel safe. What I find funny and strange is that if a Varun Dhawan clicks a picture with a fan on the street, then he gets this tweet from Mumbai Police warning him but when a filmmaker and an actress are being heckled and bounty is being announced on national television, then why is the law waiting for a Police complaint?  
That’s a criminal offence. It is not a verbal harassment. That’s the law of the land. I know so many people who have filed an FIR because they were offended because someone said something about somebody they believed in. FIRs are being filed for Facebook posts but nobody is filing FIRs for these criminal offences. The greatest thing about our country is that we are still a democracy but we shouldn’t encourage for anybody to take law in their own hands. What is right is right, what is wrong is wrong. There’s a way to go about things. You can’t publicly intimidate people. But nobody can take an action unless there’s an FIR lodged against you.

The worst part is that lawmakers are making statements. Supreme Court has come down heavily on people occupying responsible posts to refrain from making inflammatory statements. When chief ministers are making statements then how can you stop anyone!
That’s just a reflection of the political discourse of our country. That’s not a reflection of anything else. So much of what is being said and being done right now is only happening because we are in the election mode. That has been a pattern. Punjab was in an election mode, Udta Punjab suffered. It keeps happening.

It was lovely talking to you Dia. Commendable that you’ve spoken up. International media is writing about threats that have been issued to Deepika and these are not good things to go out of the country. I hope better sense will prevail.
I can get into a lot of trouble for saying this but that’s the honest truth. I don’t feel any shame or hesitation. It hurts me as a woman and as Deepika’s colleague to witness what people are doing to her and the fact that they are getting away with it. I really hope that Padmavati releases and it’s a glorious resounding success. And that all those individuals who have broken the law are booked and take to task.

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