The actor speaks to Zeinab Badawi from BBC HARDtalk at the WEF in Davos.
BBC HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi spoke to Shah Rukh Khan at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where the latter was given an award for his philanthropic work advancing women’s rights. Here are a few excerpts from the interview.
Zeinab Badawi (ZB): Listen, you work in an industry that, to put it bluntly, is sexist; men get paid more than the women, and we’ve heard about the #MeToo campaign obviously in Hollywood - I mean, that kind of thing must go on. We know it does because some actors have actually talked about that. Kangana Ranaut is one of the few Bollywood actresses who has publicly spoken about sexual assault and harassment. She’s appeared in about 30 films and she told Reuters she had faced “severe sexual exploitation and harassment at the work place”. I mean have you witnessed this kind of thing, have you done anything about it?
Shah Rukh Khan (SRK): You know personally, at a level when I’m making films or working in films, we’re very clear about the attitude to women. Even the smallest aspects, of the names coming first in title, which is not going to do anything, but the kind of respectability -
ZB: That’s the thing you started a few years ago so that your female co-star, her name appears before yours.
SRK: Her name appears before…
ZB: But that’s just an empty gesture isn’t it, go on admit it?
SRK: Yeah it is, it is yeah. Yeah. You don’t have to push me too far to agree with this, but it’s a way of trying to say even this small thing needs to be done just to bring about the equality. Just see what we’ve reduced ourselves to. You know, to put a girl’s name in front just to show what little guys we are, thinking of them as equals. And that is sad and that is strangely dichotomous when you’re talking about creativity, and you have boys and girls working together. I’ve never personally, first hand and nobody, if I may say, nobody dared misbehave with a woman on my set, I’m very clear on that.
ZB: And your fellow actors haven’t in the past come and said to you, you know what Shah Rukh, this and that happened to me, or it’s not been on your radar?
SRK: I’m very close to the women I work with. Nobody has said this. This interview you talk about yeah, perhaps…
SRK: Yeah, but I’ve never personally been told on my sets. You know Zeinab maybe it also stems from the fact I’ve just been, mother, my sister, my wife, my daughter, I’ve just been with women. I’ve been brought up by women.
– Courtesy: Quint.com