‘I AM A,PUB­LIC FIG­URE BUT NOT PUB­LIC PROP­ERTY’

Tar­geted by stalk­ers, trolled for dat­ing a white man, Ileana D’cruz wants to see some re­spect

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - Hindustan Times (Jaipur) - City - - Front Page - Monika Rawal Kukreja

Ac­tor Ileana D’cruz might be con­tent with her lat­est film, Baad­shaho, hav­ing a fairly de­cent run at the box of­fice, but things aren’t as smooth on the per­sonal front. The ac­tor re­cently took to so­cial me­dia to share how she was stalked by six men, who ha­rassed her on spot­ting her alone in the car. An­gered by the in­ci­dent and how it took a toll on her peace of mind, Ileana admits that she’s not some­one who can eas­ily hide her emo­tions. Even dur­ing pro­mo­tions for Baad­shaho, each time she was asked about her Aus­tralian boyfriend, pho­tog­ra­pher An­drew Knee­bone, Ileana had clammed up. “What­ever hap­pened af­fected me fairly deeply. I feel that I don’t have to have it all to­gether all the time. I don’t have to be this smil­ing face for the pub­lic. I am a pub­lic fig­ure but I am not pub­lic prop­erty,” says the ac­tor about the stalk­ers. “Do these men treat their wives, moth­ers, sis­ters the same way? Then what’s so dif­fer­ent in my case? I’m a woman, too. Why would you not treat me with re­spect?” Asked why she prefers to keep her per­sonal life un­der wraps, Ileana says that she doesn’t want to give bul­lies an­other rea­son to target her. “I know that when peo­ple ask me about my boyfriend, they’re not dis­re­spect­ful but just cu­ri­ous. But then, there are some who troll you. So, I feel that the more I pull [An­drew] into the pub­lic eye, the more I’ll sub­ject him to neg­a­tive stuff,” says the ac­tor, re­veal­ing that peo­ple have made nasty and down­right racist com­ments about her re­la­tion­ship with An­drew. “It’s sad that trolls pre­fer to talk about his skin colour [rather] than the per­son that he is. Peo­ple are so racist. They tell me that I’m dat­ing him be­cause of his skin colour. That pisses me off,” says an up­set Ileana. The ac­tor, who has worked in films such as Barfi (2012), Main Tera Hero (2014), and Rus­tom (2016), says that she’d be more than happy to make her boyfriend di­rectly talk to the me­dia. “But I feel that he doesn’t de­serve hav­ing to deal with the neg­a­tiv­ity that I do. I’ve been in the in­dus­try for 11 years now, so it’s a part of my life. But he’s en­ti­tled to his own pri­vacy and re­spect.” Has An­drew ever said that he wants to stay away from the pub­lic eye? “He un­der­stands where I’m com­ing from and my con­cern. As for what I say in the me­dia or what’s writ­ten on so­cial me­dia... hon­estly, it doesn’t mat­ter as much as what I say to him. So, that’s very clear be­tween us.”

PHOTO: PRODIP GUHA/HT

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