Rani Mukerji’s #MeToo comments cause furore on social media

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Veteran Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji has stirred up a storm on social media after her controversial remarks regarding the #MeToo movement, with Twitterati claiming that she took a victim-blaming approach to ending sexual harassment.

The Mardani actress was part of a panel comprising Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt, Anushka Sharma, Tabu and Taapsee Pannu hosted by CNN-News18’s Rajeev Masand.

When the #MeToo movement came up for discussion, Rani shocked everyone at the table by saying that the solution to ending and battling sexual harassment lay in teaching women the art of self-defence.

“I think everything relates to what you want out of your life… It’s important for women to believe in themselves and say that if they don’t want it [harassment] to happen, it will not happen. And if they’re in that situation the man should suffer right then and there. Either kick him between his legs or give him such a jhappar of his lifetime that the man will remember [that this woman beat me] and will not harass other women in the future. You should have the courage to protect yourself,” she said.

Her comments made other members of the panel, including Deepika, visibly uncomfortable who interjected to explain to Rani that it was not possible for all women to defend themselves.

“I agree with you but what I’m trying to say is that not everyone is constructed with that DNA (to defend themselves),” she said.

“Those are the women we need to talk to and tell them that they need to change,” she said.

Anushka Sharma interrupted and said that we should blame the perpetrator of sexual harassment rather than speak to the women who are victims.

Rani also disagreed with her.

“We can’t depend on how the other person will behave with us and have to take responsibility for our own selves,” she said.

Alia Bhatt spoke of how young girls were abused in their homes by their uncles and close relatives. Rani Mukerji then said that it was important for self-defence training to be imparted to girls in schools.

Needless to say, her comments invited a lot of rage on Twitter.