#MeToo: Despite incident, Sanjjanaa stands by film industry – South Indian actress Sanjjanaa recounts her #MeToo ordeal but insists that the entire film industry cannot be slammed because of a few people.
The #MeToo campaign has seen numerous actresses coming out and sharing their sordid experiences of sexual misconduct in the industry. Now actress Sanjjanaa reveals how she was harassed during her debut film.
The actress was launched 12 years ago in the Kannada film Ganda Hendathi, a remake of the Hindi film Murder. Sanjjanaa recalls how she was forced by the director to do certain scenes in the film despite not wanting to. “Now, the #MeToo campaign is going on and as a social activist I have decided that I should also talk about how I was harassed in my first film,” says Sanjjanna.
“The director had promised me that there’d be only one kissing scene. But after three days of shooting, they wanted to shoot the kissing scene for a few days. When I told the director that the kissing scene was over, he got angry with me and said, ‘You are trying to tell me what’s over and what’s not over. You are a new actress and you don’t know how to respect your director.’ He just forced and pressurised me to do the kissing scenes for a few more days. I was threatened, harassed and under pressure to do the scene. When the film released, people thought that I have done it because I wanted to do it. People didn’t know the truth behind it,” says Sanjjanaa.
The actress, however, gets angry when people criticise the film industry. “I did 45 films in all the South Indian languages, and I want to say that the film industry is a good place for women. It gives a chance to be independent and popular, and if you have talent you can prove yourself. Of course, there are bad people not only in the film industry, but in every other industry. Because of those few bad people, you can’t blame the entire film industry,” says Sanjjanaa.
The actress was young when she made her debut in Kannada and couldn’t come out then openly because she knew she would not get other offers. “Now, I am secure and people know me. If one person rejects me, I don’t bother as many other people support me,” she says. She adds that actresses are getting chances purely due to their talent. “Many filmmakers rope in actresses purely for their talent and not because they are ‘cooperative’,” says Sanjjanaa, who adds that she has no complaints about the Telugu film industry.