It’s rampant in the fashion world – say Indian male models, admitting that in many cases people ‘compromise’ to get work as emerging models seek ‘instant success’.
Model Kawaljit Singh Anand’s open accusation aimed at designer Vijay Arora opened up the #MeToo discussion about harassment that male models face.
Bharat Sharma, the actor who had recently appeared in ALTBalaji’s series Hum and played one of the leads in Zee TV’s romcom Bin Kuch Kahe, is a more known face from the fashion runway, having walked for almost all designers and fashion weeks.
IWMBuzz.com contacted Bharat to know more about his thoughts on the issue and he says, “No fashion institute or fashion pageant teaches a budding person be it male or female about how to deal with the sexual favors or uncomfortable situations created by some media established big names and celebrities who have cultivated a habit of using their position and stature in society for mal practices, which sadly has become a short key to success for a shorter span. Fashion industry might look like a very organised system, but unfortunately there are some severe potholes.”
He further says that there is this ‘entire lobbying’ that works in order of client–designer–choreographer–backstage –makeup–stylist—models. “If you hear female sexual harassment stories in film division, then fashion industry gives an equalizer on male counterparts. Male models come in the bottom of this food chain. A straight man becomes a liability. Here we have one exception. If you are any designer’s boyfriend then you are special (some different kind of nepotism I feel),” says Bharat.
When we ask for the reason of such practices, Sharma who is also a qualified Management Business Admin & has worked with some big MNC’s says, “Fashion industry is very overrated. When people get more than the required attention and fame, such practices come in the form of pleasure. Adding to it, wherever the supply is more than the demand, people will get exploited on various grounds in the name of competition.”
Ask him to come out with some names who have indulged in such activities and he categorically states, “Truth is not for entertainment and I feel we as a society have a long way to go when it comes to digesting the truth. I would not like to create any kind of chaos in peoples’ lives. But yes the next generation who are planning to come into fashion and glamour industry as models, designers, actors – please understand we are living in the world of sales. We are all salesmen, now be it film industry models to cricketers to a social platform junk video maker. Some professions are just too overrated. Don’t just go for shortcuts”.
“There is no one who will force you directly for sexual favors, but they use their position and power to get what they want from the aspiring models in exchange of sustainability and growth. So prima facie it is not on mutual grounds,” he affirms.
When we ask how he survived and made it big, Sharma says, “Thanks to the people in the industry who work on fair grounds. They know how to earn and give respect. On the other side by God’s grace I have my animation studio Iraa Animation in Jaipur. The advertising and television industry has helped me a lot.”
Nowadays, Bharat is busy writing scripts and concepts for his short films. When asked about his future plans Sharma says, “It is too early to say anything about future, but I can imagine myself as part of good, meaningful and entertaining cinema.”
The #MeToo movement has begun in every field that we can think of in the entertainment industry. We only hope bigger truths do come out so that the work ambience gets to improve in all fields.