The first sign of a storm, time is indeed up , as the ugly side of Bollywood emerges to the surface. Weeks after Tanushree Dutta alleged being harassed by Nana Patekar on the set of her film , many actresses, including Kangana Ranaut and Pooja Bhatt have opened up about their own disturbing experiences as well.
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The state of women in India is still in a bad shape as we are still struggling with very primitive things that we are fighting for such as equal rights, equal pay or equal work: #KanganaRanaut at the global sub-forum of 2nd XIN philanthropy conference in #Delhi #95Charity
‘Queen’ Director Vikas Bahl was accused of making inappropriate advances towards a female crew member in 2015. She worked at the now defunct Phantom Films, a production company set up Anurag Kashyap, Vikram Aditya Motwane , Madhu Mantena and Bahl. The female crew member had informed the team at Phantom , but with no action being taken against Bahl, she had quit Phantom Films. Bahl’s alleged assault was covered by a few news papers in 2017 but the matter was hushed up.
However, a few dark truths have resurfaced yet again , as Vikas’ ‘Queen’ star Kangana Ranaut has extended her support to the former Phantom employee, saying that she too had been harassed by the director on sets. Kangana, in an interview to India Today said, “Every time we met, socially greeted and hugged each other, he (Bahl) would bury his face in my neck, hold me really tight and breathe in the smell of my hair. It took me great amount of strength and effort to pull myself out of his embrace. He’d say ‘I love how you smell K’.”
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We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh- Friedrich Nietzsche. #throwback to #cannes2018 #KanganaAtCannes #QueenatCannes #CannesFilmFestival2018 #nietszche
In the meanwhile, Bahl’s counterparts at Phantom, namely Kashyap , Motwane and Mantena were aware of the incident at hand and done little at the time. Criticised by many for their silence and inability to take any action against Vikas and extending their support to the victim.
However, Kashyap broke his silence on social media, apologising for the “ poor handling of the incident” and that Bollywood is ill-equipped in handling cases of harassment. He posted a two-page statement on his Twitter account announcing the “ dissolution of their production company as well as an explanation on the “ silence” when the incident first took place.
My statement in light of the recent HuffPost article and breaking up of Phantom . There are two pages.. pic.twitter.com/WCAsaj6uFR
— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) October 7, 2018
Soon after, Vikram Aditya Motwane gave his side of the story.
— Vikramaditya Motwane (@VikramMotwane) October 7, 2018
Actress Pooja Bhatt, at a conclave, also spoke about being mentally and sexually harassed by her boyfriend and getting no support from the industry. But, it’s not just Bollywood, as many female journalists have also come out in the open with their stories of harassment. Writer Mahima Kukreja accused comic Utsav Chraborthy of AIB fame, who sent her inappropriate pictures of his private parts, soon after many other journalists spoke about being harassed at work by their male colleagues.
The dark seedy underside of Bollywood, with its stories of the infamous casting couch, harassment and abuse, which were only whispers back in the day and quickly brushed under the carpet, have now finally resurfaced. No longer the fear of victim shaming or being “silent “ on issues often ignored by the public and the people who actually matter, as the media and the film industry braces itself for a shake up… time is indeed up!