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WATCH: How #MeToo changed Vinta Nanda's life

By Hitesh Harisinghani
Last updated on: December 14, 2018 09:10 IST
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'I stopped getting work after 2004. Between 2005 and 2018 I had no work.'
Vinta Nanda reveals how speaking up against Alok Nath ruined her career.
Videos: Hitesh Harsinghani/

MeToo discussion at Jaipur litfest curtain raiser

IMAGE: Left to right: Vinta Nanda, LGBTQ activist Saniya Sheikh, film-maker Shazia Iqbal, novelist Shobhaa De, Lodestar UM CEO Nandini Dias and journalist Namita Bhandare at the curtain raiser for the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival at the Royal Opera House, Mumbai. Photograph: Kind courtesy Zee Jaipur Literature Festival

Last week, Mumbai hosted a preview for next month's Jaipur lit fest, which will be held across five days from January 24 to 28 at the Diggi Palace Hotel there.

Like the upcoming festival, the theme of the Mumbai evening, held at the iconic Royal Opera House, rotated around conversation on the most relevant topics today, Indian culture and good music.

Zee Jaipur Literature Festival Organisers William Dalrymple, Sanjoy Roy and Namita Gokhale presided.

MeToo panelists

IMAGE: Left to right: Nandini Dias, Shobhaa De, Saniya Sheikh (standing), Namita Bhandare and Vinta Nanda backstage ahead of the Mumbai talk.
'Important to keep the #metoomovement on track, across generations and backgrounds,' De wrote after posting this picture on Instagram.

A performance by the Mooralala Marwada Ensemble set the tone for the evening.

It was followed by a stimulating discussion on the #MeToo movement.

Titled #MeToo and the Culture of Impunity: Conversations Across Generations a dialogue unfolded between screenwriter and director Vinta Nanda, novelist Shobhaa De, film-maker Shazia Iqbal, LGBTQ activist Saniya Shaikh and the Lodestar UM CEO Nandini Dias.

The hour-long session was moderated by journalist Namita Bhandare.

Nanda credited actress Tanushree Dutta for speaking up and inspiring people like her to come out and share their stories.

"I was very certain I would be heard and I would be supported," said Nanda. "When I saw the industry, CINTAA (the Cine And TV Artistes Association) supporting and coming in favour of her (Tanushree); it was the first time I saw men speak in favour of women."

That, Nanda said, was her trigger to speak up against her alleged abuser actor Alok Nath.

WATCH: Why Vinta Nanda spoke up after so many years:

Nanda revealed that she first spoke about the incident in 2004 and the decision damaged her career.

"I stopped getting work after 2004. Between 2005 and 2018, I had no work," she revealed, pointing out to the collateral damage survivors like herself suffer.

"My film White Noise has still not been brought (out) by Netflix or anyone. Till date, the film lies in the cans," the film-maker explained.

WATCH: How #MeToo affected Vinta Nanda's career:

From teens who wanted to hug her to friends who advised her to be careful, some questioned her decision to speak up so late.

'Kyu kiya? Pagal hai kya? (Why did you do this? Are you mad?)', an aunt, her mother's age, remarked to her, she recalls in the video below.

WATCH: How people reacted to Vinta Nanda's story:

Shobhaa De said the #MeToo movement had not helped survivors enough.

"Despite all the hashtags, the culprits have continued to be around, they haven't lost their jobs," she said.

"The ones who have hung on to their secret lives, they are protected, there is a network whether it is politics, media or corporate lives," De added.

WATCH: Why women fear speaking up against workplace abuse at work:

Dias said a woman has every right to oppose something she wasn't comfortable doing.

The choice might be something as simple as whether to drink socially with a colleague or not. "It's my choice if I want to be there. It doesn't stop my career," she said.

WATCH: How workplaces should be made safe for women:

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