The moment I read about Bollywood actress Preity Zinta or popularly known as “PZ”, filing molestation case against her former boyfriend Ness Wadia, my reaction was , “Oh Lord, she will be slaughtered for this .” In no time, PZ was trending online and numerous comments were made about her age, look, career and love life. For many people, it was a desperate attempt made by a ‘middle aged, single, and declining actress’ to garner attention. Ness Wadia’s friends wasted no time in suggesting (and I quote) “Zinta could not digest the fact that her former boyfriend, who is still her business partner, was involved in another relationship.” Wadia’s friends were not alone in ridiculing her. There were others, both men and women, equally unkind, judgmental and mean. (I am quoting some of the comments that I found online)
“Grow up Preity and move on. It would be incredulous to believe that in your five year relationship, your modesty was not repeatedly outraged.”
“I have zero sympathy for women like Preity who dig for gold and then later on complain and misuse laws just for petty revenge.”
“Can’t figure out how Ness Wadia molested her in full public view during a match at a cricket stadium.”
“Now she has nothing left in her hand, she is not getting any film (even after plastic surgery) and IPL is also over !! So it is some planned game to get attention. You never know she can also get some work by this drama. Poor Ness.”
And the meanest one came from a woman
“Ness is so good looking. Why would he touch someone as ugly as Preity Zinta. He can get any girl.”
Perhaps PZ’s declining movie career, her single status, and her age, somehow make her look vulnerable in the eyes of public. Thus people perceive that her vulnerability is making her desperate. So desperate that she would not hesitate to falsely accuse her former boyfriend of molesting her. I guess people have forgotten that PZ represents millions of self-made women who are trying to fit in a man’s world. With no Godfather in the industry, she made her own place in Bollywood, and at one point, she was Bollywood’s top actress. I guess people have also forgotten that PZ has always been vocal and brave. Be it complaining about the underworld, or suing renowned journalists for berating her in media, she has always raised voice whenever she felt wrong. In fact, the renowned Indian magazine once called her “Bollywood’s ONLY real hero” for sticking to her statement about the underworld when everybody else, including the Khans, chose to keep mum about it. More important, perhaps people have completely forgotten that when a woman claims she was abused, she is probably telling the truth. But of course, it does not matter to many, because the one who is claiming is a Bollywood actress who has no career, no husband and no money. Unlike her contemporaries, she does not have Bachchans or Chopras husbands. In our Indian society, where women, even if they are professionally successful, are perceived “complete” only if they have a husband, PZ probably comes across as a bitter, lonely, and desperate woman. And of course a “gold-digger” too….and so she can’t be abused!
It is sad to see that so many people have failed to see the core issue in PZ’s case, and rather they are focusing on her lifestyle. Whether one likes her lifestyle or not, how can one assume that she would make “false accusations” against her former boyfriend and more important, her current business partner to garner public attention. She is not stupid, and she very well knows that she might be jeopardizing her own position in the IPL business by going against the Wadias, who owns the major stake of the business. She might be boycotted by the Bollywood fraternity. And she might be subjected to sexist insults and jokes. Yet she chose to fight against violence. Perhaps this molestation complaint must be a case of continual intermittent abuse that PZ has been facing for several years. She must have thought about it thoroughly before going against it in public. Point is she had guts to go against it despite all odds, and chose to fight for respect that she, as a woman, deserves. She dared to tell the world that no self-respect women should tolerate physical or verbal abuses.
Rather than focusing on her lifestyle, let us not forget that her case highlights a very serious issue about women facing abuses in workplace. Violence against women is for real, and even successful women face abuses. As she herself stated, “I don’t want any sympathy from anyone but I will sincerely appreciate it if people do not try to take away my dignity in the process of my fight for respect at my workplace. I think after all these years I deserve it and I’m not asking for too much.”
Yes, Preity, you are not asking for too much. Women face abuses everywhere, and that is the fact. You are an inspiration to many women for raising a voice against it. You are, indeed, Bollywood’s only real hero.