More than a year after Telugu film actress Sri Reddy stripped down and sat topless on the street outside the office of the Movie Artistes Association in Hyderabad to draw people’s attention to sexual exploitation of women in Tollywood, the Telangana government has finally taken steps to address the menace of the casting couch in the Telugu film industry. It has set up a first-of-its-kind panel to look into issues of sexual harassment faced by actresses in the Telugu film and TV industries.
Sri Reddy was called all sorts of names by the bigwigs of the Telugu film industry who claimed that her act of sitting topless in public (last March) was a mere publicity stunt. Although her career is almost over after her bold tirade against sexual harassment, she is happy that she had the courage to call out the sexual predators. She hopes that the government would also do something to ensure that the actresses who speak out are not shunned by the film industry. Sri Reddy is also not sure if the panel would be effective as it has some influential people as its members. She fears that the influential people, who hail from film families, may never feel inclined to help outsiders like her because the sexual predators also often belong to film families.