The #MeToo movement has been gaining a lot of momentum and women from all walks of life have been talking about their stories of harassment at work. Actor Jasmin Bhasin, too, talks about how once a filmmaker asked her to strip down, to judge if she had a ‘bikini body’.
The incident took place five years back, when Jasmin was a model. She was to meet a casting director. “I was told by my agency that this director, who was known for his Gujarati and Hindi films, was auditioning for his next film. Since the meeting was set, I went to meet him. I sensed that something was wrong by the way he spoke.”
In fact, the first question was enough to make her feel awkward “He asked, ‘What will you do to become an actress and to what extent can you go?’ Being naïve at that time, I replied ‘What more I can do, I left my city and home and I am living here and struggling’… I realised that I was not understanding what he was trying to say,” Jasmin says.
It was then that the director demanded that the actor take off her clothes so that he could see how she looked in a bikini. “In cases like these, you know you can’t fight, so I told him I am not in the best possible shape to flaunt a two piece and the brief given to me was that the girl’s character is very different and I am not supposed to wear a bikini. I immediately left saying that my agency will get back to him and I will meet him again,” she says.
Strength is what helps in these situations, says Jasmin. “That sexual harassment exists can’t be denied, but one needs to be strong. Girls should know how to work in their own conditions and not trust anyone, unknown, so easily. It is important to be courageous. This is the right time to take a stand and I am happy this is happening,” she says.