It was quite a special birthday for the wonderful Raveena Tandon this year. As she turned a year older on Friday, she felt a sense of satisfaction. “Women who have kept quiet for so long are speaking out against their harassment. It’s a full-blown movement now, and I feel fulfilled as an artiste and a woman. Because for many years, speaking up meant a woman was stigmatized by our film industry. She lost work opportunities. Many of them gave up their dreams and careers and went back to their home towns, while the men who drove them to despair continued to lead successful lives. I think that has changed now,” says Raveena.
As for the wrong men being pulled up is concerned , Raveena feels it is a small price to pay for generations of silence that women had to maintain. “It is no longer cool to sweep harassment cases under the carpet and move on. There is some criticism about anonymous women naming and shaming their predators. But we must understand, it has taken us so long to come out and speak. The courage to point a finger at the wrongdoer must be lauded.”
Raveena has personally never faced sexual harassment at her work place. “Firstly I am a well-known producer-director’s daughter (her father Ravi Tandon made blockbusters like Khel Khel Mein, Zindagi and Khuddar). Secondly, no one could mess with me and get away with it.”
How did she ensure she was safe from sexual advances? “I always gave out buddy vibes to my leading men. I won’t say that’s insurance against flirtatious behaviour. But it helped.”
Her advice to young girls vulnerable to predatory behaviour? “Be professional at your work place. Do not discuss anything beyond your work at your work place. If at all there is someone who’s troubling you, then report him immediately. Do not give predators the benefit of the doubt.”