It is almost 3 weeks since the starlet Shweta Basu Prasad was arrested for her alleged involvement in a high profile prostitution ring. According to the reports, Hyderabad police raided one of the star hotels in the city and Shweta was caught “Red -Handed”.
We all saw the reactions to this incident, some people condemned the incident, a few others expressed their solidarity to the starlet, some news channels saw this purely from a TRP perspective, a few news channels organized intriguing debates on prostitution in the film industry. We saw some intellectuals getting into furious debates on morality and woman rights and I for my part saw some commoners pass lewd comments on the film industry and the actresses.
Now that 3 weeks have passed and the heat and emotions( with respect to this issue) have indeed subsided, I wish to put forth my thoughts on this entire episode.
I, based on my own ethics and belief process cannot support a woman who says that she turned to prostitution to support her family. In my personal opinion there are ways to sustain yourself before turning to prostitution, and as an actress Shweta is more privileged than many others in the world. She must have had more options to survive and fight for her place in this world.
However, I really commend Shweta for her courage in saying that she indeed got into this. At least, she did not play the victim card. Here is what she said after the incident. “I have made wrong choices in my career and I was out of money. I had to support my family and some other good causes. All the doors were closed and some people encouraged me to get into prostitution to earn money. I was helpless and with no option left to choose, I got involved in this act. I’m not the only one who faced this problem and there are several other heroines who have gone through this phase.” (Source : http://www.indiatvnews.com/entertainment/bollywood/shweta-basu-prasad-arrested-in-sex-racket-raid-breaking-news-16773.html). Here we see that Shweta accepts that this was a conscious decision, she accepted that she made a mistake and it takes courage to say so. I commend her for that.
That brings me to the most important question of the debate, why is all this happening? Every now and then we see budding actresses getting involved in the sex trade don’t we ? Why does this happen so often ? And more importantly why is it that we hear the names of the actresses who are involved in this but seldom hear the names of the people who sought these services ?
Whether we like this or not, there is a market where a few people are ready to pay hefty amounts to get beautiful and famous girls on their bed. I do not know what happens behind the scenes but I do believe that there are forces that coerce budding artists to get into flesh trade and make the quick buck. To me, the supply exists because the there is a demand in the first place. I believe that this is not good for the film industry as well, many talented young woman are not getting into the industry for the very fear that they have to compromise on the ethics that are close to their heart. These high profile people who are creating this market need not essentially be from the film industry alone, they are the mighty rich who come from any sector.
How do we tackle this, the police and the media must reveal the names of the high profile men who have created this market. When you catch the actress red-handed, you also catch the man red-handed don’t you? Reveal his identity and let him have his fall from grace. Install the fear that they are not oblivious to the suffering and mental agony when they are caught. The film industry on its part must encourage the actresses to expose the moles who tarnish the name of the industry. When you have all this happening, you see that this crime comes down on its own. When you destroy the demand the supply too comes down .
Why am I commenting on all this? As an Indian I want to have the best movie industry in the country. Movies and movie stars influence the people of this country like no one else. Of late there is a steep increase in the number of actresses being caught in activities related to prostitution. If the industry does not resort to some course correction now, it might be staring at an apocalyptic fall from grace in the days to come. That would be absolutely disastrous for the movie industry and the nation.
Coming back to Shweta Basu Prasad, she displayed courage by accepting the mistake. Hope she displays it again by revealing the names of the high profile people who sought her services. She would be doing a great service to the movie industry and the Nation by exposing them.
For all reasons, it is Shweta today , tomorrow it might be someone else, unless you kill the demand for this sort of activities , you will never be able to cure this problem that plagues this nation.