Malishka Mendonsa, popularly known as RJ Malishka, is one of Mumbai’s most loved radio jockeys and now also a TV personality and actor (you just saw her in Tumhari Sulu, remember?). Recently, Malishka was invited on a show to troll the trolls called MTV Troll Police, where she confronted her online troll in person. We spoke to Malishka about her experience of meeting a troll in flesh and blood and about actor Swara Bhasker getting trolled for her open letter on Padmaavat.
Listen to it here or read the entire chat below the video:
How was it to come face to face with a person who has been trolling you online?
I actually did not expect the troll to be someone who was trolling me for a song, for which I have already faced so much trolls and more than trolls, I have received so much support for that, so it was unexpected.
It was disturbing to say the least, especially because he was so arrogant. I don’t think they (MTV) also had to deal with such a person so far. I guess when a person is doing something wrong and they know it, they expect to never get called out, because they are nameless, faceless. So, when you show them what they have said like, ‘take off your underwear or your bra,’ they repent like, ‘Oh shit I said this’ so obviously they know they are wrong. But in this case, this guy was unrepentant on so many levels because he thought he was right he went away thinking he was right. He did not see what he was doing as opposed to what he wanted to do. That was a little shocking.
Was there a sense of satisfaction after the confrontation?
I was more sad that I was satisfied. This is what is happening to so many girls and women. I’ll tell you what happened, I have a lot of girls writing to me after the episode saying we are so proud of you. One in particular said you know I am a young girl and you don’t know how much trolling I go through.
At least we are in the public eye, there are people who are not, there are kids whose life is Instagram. Their validation is Instagram, their validation is social media. For them it’s their formative years, when they haven’t figured out who they are, so to hear people say things, call them names, say weird things to them - what if that validates you? If you are insecure at some level and you feel “Shit! I am this person, I am not worthy”. That’s what worries me more.
Swara Bhasker has been getting trolled for writing an open letter to the director of Padmaavat. Sadly, she is getting trolled not only by men but even by women, mostly for using the word “vagina”. What do you have to say about that?
I think if a word is bothering you then you should get online and see what are the names women are being called.
Have you seen Padmaavat? What do you think of the film?
Of course I have. I thought it was ok. After I read Swara’s letter, I saw her point of view also and I may or may not agree with it and I have every right to tell her I do not agree with it. But the tone I use, the way I say it is everything.
Swara went out there and put her point of view with her face on it and it is a place for healthy discussion. You cannot tell people not to have a point of view. You have a point of view, you counter it without calling them names.
“And it’s high time that women started calling their body parts the way they are supposed to be called instead of calling it beebee or peepee.”
Did you think that Padmaavat was regressive?
It is not so black and white, it’s a film. After reading Swara’s letter the director may have said ‘Hmmm, I didn’t think of this like this’. When Swara put it in perspective, like in this century when you are bringing up something from 13th century you should see it in the light of what’s going on right now and she is not wrong in that. That’s when I saw that it was a full glorification in the end of these women jumping into the pyre.
“But I think Bhansali is right in making the movie and I think Swara is right in her own way to point out this particular thing that it is glorification. Both of them are right in their own way. We should all be like ‘Hmmm, maybe she is right, maybe the next filmmaker will keep this in mind’.”
Do you have any message for Deepika and Swara?
What has happened to Deepika is just the other end of horrible. She is depicting a character, a director’s vision. She signs the film, she got on board with it. You can talk to her about her acting, you can say I did not like the way you portrayed it, you can even say that did you think about the end, what women will be reduced to. But to be told that your head will get cut off or nose will get cut off is beyond trolling. I think trolling and bullying are sweet words now. I just haven’t found a word for what these people are doing to people who are soft targets and are celebrities. What can you say other than just hang in there?