A lot of buzz was generated by Gully Boy actor Siddhant Chaturvedi’s smart answer to Ananya Panday on nepotism at The Newcomers Roundtable 2019 with Rajeev Masand, but what we all missed, and is now doing the rounds of social media is Soni actor Geetika Vidya Ohlyan’s subtle but badass act of dissent on national television.
Only two movies old, Ohlyan had the words “Unnao,” “CAA” and “Jamia” written on her hands. She also had a vertical line of the hakenkreuz (the Nazi symbol which resembles the swastika) and crosses drawn on her arms, as if to show that she stood against fascism.
“I hope the victim gets... like the Unnao verdict is today... and I hope we don’t get disappointed more, and times improve and I hope we are kinder towards each other,” a visibly emotional Ohlyan said after Chaturvedi tugged at her hand to bring everyone’s attention to the messages.
This was after Masand asked the newcomers what had changed after they became celebrities. Ohlyan’s answer was political and inspiring. “One factual observation about current times is that people don’t listen to economists, historians they don’t listen to. They listen to celebrities... After my graduation I continued studying.”
Ohlyan says she was asked why she was studying more. “Because I have a feeling I am going to be a celeb... And when I be a celeb, they would listen to me. I should... you know the food that I receive is increasing so I’m making my table bigger rather than making my walls higher.”
Ohlyan’s act of dissent was praiseworthy as much as it was brave, standing in stark contrast to many superstars of the industry who have conveniently been silent on issues of rape and sexual assault in the industry as well as on the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). While many actors have spoken up on the issue, the big names have stayed away from making any remarks that could be interpreted as taking a stand.
In an industry full of people who choose to sit on the fence on critical issues, Ohlyan’s words and actions come as a breath of fresh air.
As the video clip of the roundtable was shared on Twitter, users of the social media platform heaped praise on her.