Actress Pankhuri Awasthy, who will next be seen playing a rape victim in upcoming TV show “Kya Kasoor Hai Amla Ka?”, says she gathered the courage to slap a man who touched her inappropriately. She is proud that she stood up against harassment.

“Mumbai is one of the safest cities in India, if I tell by my experience. I have stayed in Delhi, Chandigarh, Noida, and Bengaluru, and have visited other cities also. I won’t say cities are safe for women,” Pankhuri said on the set of “Kya Kasoor Hai Amla Ka?” here on Saturday.

“When I was in Delhi, I used to travel to college by Metro and so many instances have happened with me. That time (in college), you’re so young and you don’t realise half of the things that are happening to you.

“Cities are not safe for girls. If you think you can go out at night, you can’t do so without being scared,” she added.

However, now she feels happy about raising her voice against harassment.

“Earlier, I didn’t have courage to stand up against it. Now I do stand up. Recently, I was in Bengaluru with my friends and I was wearing a skirt. There was this guy who came and he had the courage to touch my thighs. I slapped him then and there itself,” she said.

“I stop there and say out a few bad words when somebody tries to tease me. I can’t keep quiet now. I am proud of myself for doing that,” she added.

“Kya Kasoor Hai Amla Ka?”, an Indian adaptation of popular Turkish TV show “Fatmagul”, deals with complex emotions and tackles the sensitive subject of violation of the innocence of a woman.

“For the preparation of my role, I met a psychologist and a practising psychiatrist to understand what goes on in the minds of these girls who have been raped. They told us that what’s the uncommon thing here is that most of these girls are married to the guy who raped them,” Pankhuri said.

She feels that such type of forced relations are “uncomfortable” for women.

“We were given proper acting workshops. While shooting here in Dharamsala, most of the things came naturally to us. We were even made to learn the dialect of Himachal Pradesh.

“Personally, for me, playing this character was very non-dramatic. When you do a historical or a mythological show, the grandeur of the set and the jewellery add a lot of feel. But in this character, there is nothing,” added the actress, who has previously appeared in shows like “Razia Sultan” and “Suryaputra Karn”.

Pankhuri said that she wants to get publicity through jer roles with substance, and not just with looks.

“I want to be known for my acting and not good looks — a perception that many have about actors on TV,” she said.

“Kya Kasoor Hai Amla Ka?” will be aired on Star Plus starting from April 3.