It’s an important phase for women across the globe as veils rise and the toxic colours of patriarchy are out in the open for the world to see. Indian women finally join this revolution and many brave hearts from across various industries, including Bollywood, call out shame. Here’s rehashing the accused and accusers of Bollywood’s #MeToo plus #TimesUp revolution.
This wave first hit Bollywood when actress Tanushree Dutta filed a case of sexual misconduct and harassment against veteran actor Nana Patekar. She claimed the actor misbehaved with her while shooting a special dance number for the film “Horn Ok Pleassss” in 2008. The harassment didn’t stop here, instead, she and her parents were attacked by an angry mob, all for calling out an actor who has political influence. But what shocked us was indifference from the rest of the fraternity. She filed an FIR against the director, producer and choreographer along with Nana Patekar in hope to find justice. Coming out about what may have caused indescribable and irreparable trauma is surely an act of courage. An act that inspired and opened the floodgates to many voices that had been forced shut.
Soon after, Queen movie director and Phantom Movies co-partner Vikas Bahl was outed for his malicious acts against a former colleague. This two-year-old incident was brushed under the carpet until now which reportedly caused the victim psychological trauma and a disrupted career. Partner Anurag Kashyap revealed the news of breaking ties with the man in question and shutting down their dream production house that gave Bollywood a number of commercial and offbeat hits in the past seven years. Though the victim chose to stay undercover, a number of other cast and crew members from the movie Queen, including Kangana Ranaut, joined the conversation and said #believeher (a trending support hashtag on twitter). Kangana recalled uncomfortable embraces shared with Vikas Bahl and his reckless partying habits during the Queen movie phase. She strongly supported the victim and condemned the assailant.
The next shocker was when the renowned actor, writer and director Rajat Kapoor was accused by two women for sexual misconduct, and in a matter of four days, yet another girl came forward about the same. The latter wrote a detailed account on how Kapoor allegedly tried to kiss her eight times when she was only a teenager, while also claiming that he called her “little b**ch” and insisted on being called “master”. Rajat’s twitter apology was clearly not enough, so the MAMI film festival rightly dropped Kapoor’s “Kadakh” as an act of condemnation and disgust.
Alok Nath the “sanskaari” one, turned out to be morally challenged, as claimed by his Tara show producer Vinta Nanda. She accused him of sexually assaulting her and harassing the lead actress of the show as well. An account that took place 20 years ago was dismissed by Nath but two other actresses Sandhya Mridul and Deepika Amin shared their experiences against him and said #MeToo. Though Nath has filed a defamation case against the accusers, only time will tell how things turn out.
The latest addition to the never-ending list of sex offenders is senior director and producer, Subhash Ghai who was accused of rape by an anonymous person – reportedly a famous media/lit personality. Ghai “strictly denied” the accusations and challenged the accuser to take this to court.
As of Thursday, Housefull movie series director Sajid Khan was accused of sexual harassment by Saloni Chopra who worked with him as an assistant director. She also accused Vikas Bahl of sexual harassment and Zain Durrani for physical abuse while she was in an alleged toxic relationship with him.
It’s been a heart-wrenching time in India as women from the film industry rise up and reveal heartbreaking truths about the patriarchal and toxic work culture in Bollywood. The conversation is getting stronger by the minute and #MeToo is turning out to be a collective roar. As new names get added to the list each day, we wonder who will be next?