Bollywood actor-turned-humanitarian Somy Ali: I suffered a great deal because of gossip sessions and everyone had their own version

Much has changed as to how the entertainment industry functioned in the 1990s to now. Somy Ali, who has done films such as Anth, Yaar Gaddar, Aao Pyaar Karen, Andolan and Chupp back in the 90s, has been a witness to this transformation.
“I would like to begin by saying that to say that the media treated me poorly in the 90’s would be a huge understatement. I went from being a teenager to a young adult in my early 20’s and I did things my way. Today, I would have been commended for being a rebel with a very legitimate cause,” says Somy, who now runs her NGO No More Tears in Miami, US.

She shares that at that time gossip journalism was the order of the day. “All the tabloids were huge. The journalists had a strategy. Get close to the star, be their confidante and then at the last minute when the actor or the actress least expects it, expose them with all they have told you assuming you were their friend. I am a living example of this not just by one journalist, but one who was actually my best friend and I trusted him with my life. I told him the truth about everything, and he wrote perhaps the worst article anyone could have about me. He slut shamed me and proved himself to be a male chauvinist in every sense. Ironically, he hasn’t changed and is still sucking up to an abuser. He actually had the audacity to call and tell me to stop giving interviews about this actor who was physically abusive to me and cheated on me throughout our relationship,” she adds.

At that time social media didn't exist so celebs were mostly either unaware or not always in a position to clarify everything. One such incident being reports that claimed Salman Khan broke a bottle belonging to the cola brand Thums Up on Somy’s head in a restaurant.

“This was in fact the most ridiculous news that every magazine picked up back then. Fortunately, there were witnesses there and if I had this man break a bottle on my head, I would be bleeding profusely, and an ambulance would have been called. What really happened is that I was at dinner with another actress/friend and I will refrain from naming her out of respect, but when my ex found out there was alcohol in my drink, he poured the drink on my head. That’s literally all that happened and the actress who was with me gasped and said, ‘That’s not how to treat a lady’. That was the end of that incident. No bottle breaking, none of that happened, hence it medically doesn’t add up. But they wrote about it again and again and no one cared to find out the truth because it is far more enticing to have a bottle broken on your head than liquid poured over you,” she clarifies for the first time.
Asked whether at that time being young and raw it was not easy for her to handle the responsibilities as a celeb, Somy explains how it was like back then.

“I did things my way and always have. When I realised I was being verbally and physically abused and cheated on, I decided if he can do it then so can I. The only thing that did not occur to me is that these actors and they know who they are, were using someone that was completely lost and simply looking for someone to genuinely care for her. I never found that in any of them and that is their karma, not mine. In the end, I reiterate, the media treated me horribly knowing what I was going through and continued to slut shame me. Well, shame on them is how I feel today. If they felt that a man is okay to do what he wants and a woman can't, it's telling of their character and lack of intellect, not mine. I am at a point in my life where I don't give a crap about them, but I will say it was the epitome of a sexist and male chauvinistic era,” she sounds annoyed. 

Today almost everything is in the public domain and there is an invasion of privacy too. However, in those days too invasion of privacy was there but in a different way. “I wish we had social media back then so the truth could be seen. I suffered a great deal due to the gossip sessions that went around and then each person had their own version. Let's let the abuser win because he is a star and he hides who he truly is really well. Let's point fingers at this 20-something, she has no one to defend her. That's the best way I can sum up how cruelly the media treated me, in addition to my ex,” she ends.

from Naya Sabera | नया सबेरा - No.1 Hindi News Portal Of Jaunpur (U.P.)


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