“I have been through so much. Had anyone else been in my position, the person would have committed suicide,” says Shilpa Shinde, who filed an FIR last month for sexual harassment against Sanjay Kohli, the producer of the sitcom she starred in - Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hain. Post the allegations, actor Kavita Kaushik spoke to HT Café exclusively on April 9, where she slammed Shilpa for not speaking up about the alleged sexual harassment earlier.
Addressing the issue, Shilpa says, “Jitne muh utni baatein (People will talk). People feel I am doing all this for the money or something else. Let me tell you, everyone has different experiences. I had a lot of things going on and I am dealing with it in my own way. It is not easy to talk about such things (sexual harassment). People advise you to keep quiet about it and then say why did you wait for so long? In fact, I want to tell her [Kavita], who said I am setting a bad example for other girls who go through this, that she is right. I shouldn’t have waited. If you wait, then you are blamed for waiting. I want to tell girls, ‘Don’t wait. Talk about it when it happens’. But I also understand why girls hesitate as it is not easy to talk about it.”
Shilpa adds that last year when she had quit the show, she had accused the Kohlis (Sanjay and his wife Benaifer, the producers of the show) of mental harassment. She is still fighting for her unpaid dues amounting to Rs 32 lakhs.
Shilpa says, she was “banned unofficially” by the industry members and the Kohlis have filed a case against her for losses incurred for Rs 12.5 crores. “What happened to me should never happen to anyone. You (Kohlis) have defamed me, ruined my career and name, put me through hell and now are asking for Rs 12.5 crores. I had a bitter experience and it is unprecedented. No one wants to quit a popular show and I had reached a certain level in my career. I am fighting for a lot of things, including my stuff that I left on the sets,” says Shilpa who has been doing appearances and stage shows since the past year. “They are flourishing while I am the one who is suffering,” she adds.