Bhumi Pednekar Claims 'It's Not Stalking Unless Someone's Objecting'

Bhumi Pednekar addressed concerns that a song from Toilet: Ek Prem Katha glorified stalking and sexual harassment

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Bhumi Pednekar Claims 'It's Not Stalking Unless Someone's Objecting'

Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (Image courtesy: YouTube)

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. "It is stalking till the other person is objecting to it," says Bhumi
  2. In the song, Akshay's character follows Bhumi around and films her
  3. Toilet: Ek Prem Katha releases on August 11
Actress Bhumi Pednekar appears to have excused Bollywood's repeated blurring of lines between romance and sexual harassment by claiming that stalking doesn't count as such unless the person being stalked objects. Bhumi, 28, was asked by news agency PTI to address concerns that a song from her new film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, co-starring Akshay Kumar, glorified stalking and sexual harassment. She said, "It is only stalking till the other person is objecting to it. If I am following you around or mentally harassing you, then it's stalking. But if I am not objecting to it, then how's it stalking?"

'His and her' versions of the song Has Mat Pagli have been released, with Akshay's character, Keshav, following Bhumi's, Jaya, around and filming her on his phone in the 'his' version. It prompted critical tweets like this one:
 

Bhumi Pednekar told PTI that this was OK because, in the 'her' version, Jaya does much the same. "In the second part of the song, she is doing the same thing. There is a lot that happens around the story. Had this been an important aspect of the story, where he has become an obsessive lover, threatening her (then it's a different thing), he isn't mentally harassing the girl." The second version of the song quelled critics, Bhumi said, adding that the watching the film would provide context.

Bhumi's comments would seem to reinforce Bollywood's problematic glossing over of the concept of consent in films - for instance, Raanjhanaa, in which Dhanush's character aggressively shadows Sonam Kapoor - and songs where the male character's determination to win the object of his affection over equals not taking no for an answer. In the films, the women almost always capitulate, leading to criticism that the lessons Bollywood offers to real life Romeos promote sexual harassment.

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, which deals with sanitation, is scheduled to release on August 11.

(With inputs from PTI)

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