They’re beautiful, they’re bold, and they’re not afraid to take on detractor and critics.
As Taapsee Pannu slammed bodyshamers on Twitter, she joined a league of actresses who have been unafraid to take on trolls and detractors — both online and offline. This week also saw Kangana Ranaut take on the film industry with a sketch called The Bollywood Diva Song, which took a dig at how actresses were treated like second-class citizens in the industry.
These instances may make headlines for different reasons, but the message is loud and quite clear — the Bollywood actress isn’t going to take bad behaviour lying low.
Tannishtha Chatterjee couldn’t be happier about actresses finally taking speaking up against trolls, hecklers, and bodyshamers. “Today’s actresses are modern women and we’re unafraid. We are speaking up against many things that women were afraid of speaking up against in the past,” she asserts. “In pop culture, and society in general, women who speak up or are defiant have not been thought of as nicely. Ambitious women are labelled ‘b*****s’. In older cinema, a married woman who would be out partying or wore western clothes was thought to be a character that required taming, but that’s changing now, and I’m glad.”
Another film celebrity, known for her cutting rebuttals is choreographer and filmmaker Farah Khan, who takes on trolls with much aplomb. “Earlier when I was new to Twitter, it used to get to me. But now it’s not the same. I give it back,” she explains. “I block them for sure. But sometimes I abuse before blocking them. I send them a direct message, abuse them, and correct their spellings and grammar. This is because most of them don’t know how to write, but have many abuses to give.”
Anushka Sharma has a more pragmatic take on trolls. “By now I’m mature enough to understand you shouldn’t take this too seriously. Trolls are just a bunch of people who are highly frustrated in their own lives. I don’t like the fact that people find it so easy to hate one another. Hatred that people are constantly fuming and find it easy to ridicule and break somebody’s spirit. It’s very sad. You can call me an idealist, or you can call me a dreamer, but that’s exactly how I feel.”
While some actresses choose to turn a blind eye towards the hate as a way to deal with it, film analyst Omar Qureshi thinks that the leading ladies today are not to be messed with. “I think some of our actresses have more b***s than some of our politically correct heroes,” he laughs. “And traditionally, they’ve always been bolder and more beautiful than most. It used to be via print headlines and TV screens earlier but now they have their own platforms to hit back, and tell the trolls off. No one messes with the beauties in the ivory tower. Especially when they have social media accounts. And a troll’s place is always on the outer fringes of any rose garden.”
Tannishtha believes that actresses speaking up is part of a larger movement of women in India realising their own worth. “I think we, as women in the society were always subjugated and we’ve been told to behave and be docile. Our roles as women has been to listen and obey. That is something we’ve been questioning. We’re unafraid and unapologetic about things. The way we look or the choices we make our ours alone. Women in society are now unafraid of owning it, and the actresses who speak up are prime examples of it,” she signs off.