The voice of the voiceless

The voice of the voiceless

Gandhinagar Grapevine

The voice of the voiceless

Sexual harassment at the workplace is among the most debated issues these days. The film industry too is not free of such cases.

A few actors from the Kannada film industry have come forward and registered a body that will address issues pertaining to gender rights and equality in the profession. It is called ‘Film Industry for Rights and Equality’ (FIRE).  Actors like Chetan, Priyanka Upendra, director Kavitha Lankesh, Bharathi Vishnuvardhan and a few others have taken the first step in popularising this movement.

This registered body will have a woman as its head and will also have people from all sections of the film industry, including choreographers, actors, directors and makeup artists.

Explaining the concept, Chetan says, “We will look into issues that concern gender equality. Women from different sections of the film industry could be facing all kinds of issues and they may not be confident enough to talk about the same or get them addressed. This is where we will step in to hear them out.” Chetan says that the idea is to prevent the objectification of women both on and off screen.

Kavitha Lankesh, the vice- president of ‘FIRE’, informs that the registered organisation will function independently of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC). “We will first hear the case and the further course of action will be decided by the committee. Every case that comes to us will be solved and the offenders will be punished,” assures Kavitha. She says that all kinds of cases will be heard.

“The problems of women in the film industry, including that of the makeup and dubbing artists, will be heard and taken up,” she adds. She informs that the organisation will also hold workshops and seminars to help people understand the definition of sexual harassment. “People are often confused about the meaning of sexual harassment. We will educate people about it, just to avoid misinterpretation of the same,” says Kavitha. Priyanka Upendra will be the president of the organisation. “More than 50 percent of the members will be women,” says Chetan.