Mumbai: Filmmaker Hansal Mehta and screenwriter Apurva Asrani are among the first voices from the Hindi film industry to condemned ‘Queen’ director Vikas Bahl over the sexual harassment allegations against him.
Last year, a woman employee at Phantom Films, which had Bahl as one of the partners alongside Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena, had levelled allegations of molestation against Bahl, who she said behaved inappropriately during a trip to Goa.
In a recent article in Huffpost India, the woman has reiterated the allegations, sharing further details about the incident.
According to the report, in October 2015, the woman reached out to Kashyap and detailed her experience, but no action was taken while Bahl continued to harass her until she finally quit the company.
Sharing the article on Twitter, Mehta wrote, "Will anybody do anything about this bloody creep or will the industry protect him like it always does?"
Will anybody do anything about this bloody creep or will the industry protect him like it always does? 'Queen' Director Vikas Bahl Sexually Assaulted Me, Phantom Films Did Nothing: Survivor Speaks Out https://t.co/dKeqlMkE0n— Hansal Mehta (@mehtahansal) October 6, 2018
Asrani said such incidents made him feel "sick".
"Why was no action taken against Vikas Bahl in over 3 years? To think that the victim had to continue to work in the same office and even be assigned to report to him is awful," he tweeted.
This story makes me sick. Why was no action taken against Vikas Bahl in over 3 years?? To think that the victim had to continue to work in the same office & even be assigned to report to him is awful.
Terrific reportage @aktalkies 👍 https://t.co/nbmE3rrJ6f— Apurva Asrani (@Apurvasrani) October 6, 2018
Critically-acclaimed filmmaker Onir said it was sad that some of the biggest stars in the Hindi film industry were still working with Bahl.
"It's sad that in spite of knowing the truth... studios and stars continue to turn a blind eye to the perpetrators."
Thank you @aktalkies for bring out the story. Its sad that inspite of knowing the truth... studios and stars continue to turn a blind eye to teh perpetrators .— Onir (@IamOnir) October 6, 2018
Bahl is currently directing his next venture ‘Super 30’, featuring Hrithik Roshan in the lead.
Quoting the story, ‘Sacred Games’ actor Kubbra Sait tweeted, "The details in here are gory. But necessary to read. May the girl continue to fight knowing that her story isn't wasted. Thank You for the courage. #MeToo #TimesUp".
‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’ director R S Prasanna said the revelations were "shocking".
"This is so very shocking. #MeToo seems to have become the forest fire that it deserves to be," he said.
Producer-director Nikkhil Advani said serious action must be taken against the culprit.
"Serious action, serious introspection and serious correction is required from an industry that has forever been plagued with ill repute. This is not the story of one girl or one incident but symptomatic of a work ethic at large," he wrote.
Serious action, serious introspection and serious correction is required from an industry that has forever been plagued with ill repute. This is not the story of one girl or one incident but symptomatic of a work ethic at large. @aktalkies @HuffPostIndia https://t.co/ZkGcMe5qZ8— Nikkhil Advani (@nikkhiladvani) October 6, 2018
In the article, which has since become viral on social media, Kashyap has admitted he had failed the woman, three years after he first learnt of the allegations.
"Whatever happened was wrong. We didn't handle it well, we failed. I cannot blame anyone but myself. But now we are determined to do better. We believe her completely. She has our undying support. What Bahl has done is horrifying. We are already on our path of course correction and will do everything in our capacity to fix it," Kashyap said.
According to the publication they had also sent detailed questionnaires to Phantom Films's remaining three partners -- Bahl, Motwane and Mantena.
Before the article was published, the four partners Saturday announced that have decided to dissolve their joint banner Phantom Films, without citing the reason for this decision....