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Vidya Balan: 'Full marks to Preity'

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Mumbai, June 18 -- Preity Zinta's decision to register a case against her former boyfriend Ness Wadia for allegedly outraging her modesty at an IPL match (on April 30) left the entire film industry shocked.

While the actor's friends are standing by her, actor Vidya Balan praises Preity for her bravery, and stresses on the importance of speaking up in such situations.    

What do you have to say about Preity's recently registered case?    I don't know the exact context of the case, so what can I say? I remember she had once filed a lawsuit against a publication [for defamation], so Preity has always stood up for her rights, and that is great. I don't know how one can support her, except if you're someone close to her.    

Do you think she's done the right thing by coming out in the open?    To each his own... If she felt it was the right thing to do, then it is the right thing. But full marks to Preity for having the courage [to register the complaint]. Why should anyone keep quiet if they want to speak up about it, or if they want to go to the police? Everyone should have the right to do it.    

Would you say it's a scary time to be a woman in India, especially with many rapes being reported?    It is extremely angering and scary. Somewhere, you do feel insecure, because you think to yourself, 'Oh God, that could have been any one of us.' But the good thing is that, thanks to the media, we are aware of this menace. As a result, when such things do happen, a number of families who would otherwise not speak up about these ssues are no longer afraid to approach the police.    

Is there a solution, according to you?    Very strong measures - laws need to be in place to stop people from attempting such crimes in the first place. They should tremble at the thought itself, thinking, 'Agar pakde gaye, toh mar jayange (If we're caught, we're dead).' Apart from this, you can't do anything else.    

Though you always have strong security arrangements around you, as a woman, how do you feel when you hear about rape cases in the country?    It's scary as a woman but, of course, I live in a very secure environment. But I worry for those girls who work till late in the night. When I think of my friends, or girls who go to college, or schools, or have regular jobs, I get scared . I think they are unsafe even during the day. I wish I could do something to protect them.    

How do you think women can be empowered?    I think we should tell women that they have a right to their own lives, and to lead it the way they want to. Every woman should be taught to value herself and that comes from knowing you can say 'no' when you don't want to do a certain thing.