It takes an unbelievable amount of fortitude for a public figure to make a confession to the media. But in the last couple of years, several Bollywood celebrities have come forward and opened up about facing different issues in the past. They’ve chosen to speak up so that they can help others who are facing similar situations and to contribute in removing the social stigmas attached to these issues. Here are 5 celebs who deserve every bit of our respect for making these confessions.
I thought it was stress, so I tried to distract myself by focusing on work, and surrounding myself with people, which helped for a while. But the nagging feeling didn’t go away. I suffered from lack of concentration and I broke down often… I felt empty, a bit anxious, a bit blank. My breathing was different, shallow, I took uneven breaths, sometimes I even gasped for breath. I felt a knot in my stomach that just wouldn’t go. I would have bouts of feeling so low that I would start crying at the drop of the hat. There were times I’d feel okay, and there were times I’d feel really low. Sometimes, being around people helped, sometimes it didn’t help… There were days I just wanted to be in bed, just sleep; not wake up.
It was scary. One year had passed and I wasn’t responding to medicines, until a fourth doctor from Delhi treated me. At one point, I thought I would live in this darkness forever. I had cut myself off from everyone. I didn’t come out of my room, forget stepping out of the house. I had a beard and I didn’t get a haircut for months. For someone who has performed in front of a crowd of 20,000, I was scared of facing 4-5 people. That’s what bipolar disorder does to you… The truth is I was suffering from bipolar disorder. It went on for 18 months, during which I changed four doctors, the medication wasn’t working on me and crazy things were happening. I must confess that I was bipolar and an alcoholic, which aggravated the condition.
For me, it’s an important issue and I wanted to talk about it. It is not about giving you my history as a person who has gone through sexual abuse but to put forward the idea. So many of us have gone through it and most of the people that I know, especially close friends of mine, who are women have gone through some form of CSA (child sexual abuse). Right now, 53% of the nation is going through CSA; that’s more than half the country and that’s only the official statistic. I think there’s a lot more happening because we know in a lot of families we brush it under the carpet and because of social, cultural pressure we don’t talk about these things… The reason I spoke out about my sexual abuse is not to get people to feel sorry for me but to give others who have had similar circumstances the confidence to talk about it. I allowed someone to have sex with me at the age of nine, not understanding fully what it meant and my biggest fear after was that my mother would find out. I felt it was my mistake and so I kept it hidden for years. If I had had the confidence or awareness to confide in my parents, it would have saved me years of complexes about my own sexuality. It’s important that parents remove the taboo around the word sex or private parts so kids can speak openly and be saved from potential abuse.
It was a very difficult and very harsh time. I was physically abused. I don’t have to go to details. I felt trapped. You feel people might help you. But there are no free lunches. This man who was my father’s age hit me hard on my head when I was 17. I started bleeding. I took out my sandal and hit his head hard and he started to bleed too.
My tryst with the international world has been very personal for me. When I went to school in America, there was a lot of stereotypes attached to Indian people. I was bullied a lot. I witnessed a lot of racism and that’s exactly why I came back to India. I was 16 years old. I was called a ‘Brownie’ and some even told me, “Go back to where you came from.” At that point in time, I couldn’t deal with it. So when these international opportunities came to me, beginning with my music, I decided to try and bring relevance to Indian talent because I was given the opportunity. I mean, I am not some messiah for Indian people but because I was given this opportunity, I wanted to make sure that Indian talent is recognized without the box that we are usually kept in. Everybody doesn’t speak like Apu from The Simpsons. We all don’t smell of curry. We all are not ugly-looking nerds, who are shy and always keep sitting behind their computers. Yes, we are very proud of our big families but that doesn’t mean ki har gaadi mein se 15 log bahar niklenge. In global pop-culture, we are always represented like that. I wanted to break that.