Actress Shalu Shamu, who was last seen in Mr Local, shared her MeToo story on Instagram recently and said that the director of an upcoming film with Vijay Deverakonda asked her for sexual favours if she wanted a role in his film.
During an interaction with her fans on Instagram, she responded to a question about the MeToo Movement and said that she has faced harassment in the industry too, and did not want to speak about it because it would lead nowhere and the person accused would not admit to it, she said.
“Very recently I got an approach from a famous director to sleep with him to get a chance in his new movie with Vijay Deverakonda!!! #StopWhereTheyStart. [sic]” It is likely that the person she has accused is a Telugu director since Vijay Deverakonda’s upcoming films are Dear Comrade and Ee Nagaraniki Emaindhi, and he has not signed a film in any other language yet.
Women who have made MeToo allegations against celebrities in the Telugu industry have also faced a backlash, but received support from Samantha, Chinmayi, Aditi Rao Hydari and others. In October last year, actresses, women filmmakers and technicians came together to form Voice of Women (VOW), an organisation for women to raise complaints against sexual harassment and exploitation in the film industry.
A panel was formed as per Vishakha guidelines to investigate allegations, with 50 per cent of the committee members comprising people from within the industry. Celebrities have been at the receiving end of abuse and threats for naming predators and are even fighting court cases, like Chinmayi is.
They have also said that it is harder for junior artistes to find work after they raise allegations. Shalu Shamu has mostly played supporting roles in Tamil films such as Tamizhuku En Ondrai Azhuthavum, Thiruttu Payale 2, Rekka and Mr Local. She entered cinema in 2013 with the Sivakarthikeyan-starrer Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam, where she played Sri Divya’s friend and Soori’s lover.