For Chitrangda Singh the wounds of the horrific incident that occurred on the sets of Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, by Kushan Nandy, who is the son of well-known personality Pritish Nandy, veteran journalist, film producer and former MP, are still raw.
For those who came in late, Chitrangda was asked to do a vulgar love-making sequence with the film’s leading man Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
Recalling the ghastly episode Chitrangda said, “I’d like nothing better than to forget about it. But it refuses to go away. I had spoken about it when it happened two years ago. But I was declared ‘troublesome’ and ‘moody’. They found a replacement (Bidita Bag) who went around saying how lucky she was to get the role.”
Chitrangda feels, unless women in the film industry come together to protest against exploitation it won’t stop. “How can men take our voices of dissent seriously when another actress walks right into a role after one actress says she’s been harassed? Even when I was being harassed on the sets of Babumoshai... the film’s lady producer was there making things worse for me.”
For the record, Chitrangda was asked to take off her saree, get on top of her hero and rub herself. “The director told her, “apna petticoat uthao aur ragdo apne aap ko”!
After the bullying Chitrangda retired into her van and wept. A little later she recalls Nawaz paying her a visit. “He didn’t ask me if I was okay. He just asked, ‘Are you doing the scene?’. I said no. He left. He could’ve taken a stand against my harassment. When men in the film industry do not take a stand, the harrasers feel encouraged.”