The #MeToo movement that set its foot in India in October, 2018 has gone through its share of ups and downs -- with cases as old as two decades coming to the fore and survivours not turning up in the courts to dispose before the judiciary.
Lost in this din is the fact that there was one gutsy actress who inadvertently established the power and meaning of 'NO' in the Hindi film industry. It was the legendary Meenakshi Sheshadri.
Meenakshi Sheshadri had, in 1993, outed the special interest shown in her by filmmaker Rajkumar Santoshi.
His interest in the actress had turned into a marriage proposal. But Meenakshi Sheshadri did not show any keenness in getting married to him. She declined the proposal only to be thrown out of 'Damini'.
Meenakshi was not the one to sit silent after having meted out such injustice. She brought this to the notice of the cine artistes’ association, arguing a personal equation should not affect her professionally.
Santoshi was then asked to take her back in 'Damini' -- which turned out to be her career’s best.
This was the 90s -- a phase where women had to strive harder for making a place for themselves in the scripts and the society.
And Meenakshi Sheshadri did not for once get scared of the consequences. Santoshi was a very big name those days.
That in the movie, Meenakshi Sheshadri, the protagonist, was shown to be a righteous person who fights the world for bringing a wronged woman to justice is just a coincidence.
Had Meenakshi Sheshadri not shown the courage to out a more influential and powerful man in 1993, the Hindi film industry would have been a different place -- and in the worse sense of the word.
On her 56th birthday, we thank Meenakshi Sheshadri for unknowingly doing a larger good for the women in Bollywood. Happy birthday, Damini!