Bollywood calls out Vikas Bahl as former Phantom employee accuse of him molestation
A woman who has accused Queen director Vikas Bahl of sexually assaulting her three years ago has now alleged that despite knowing the truth for almost two years, Phantom founders didn’t do much about it.Updated: Oct 07, 2018 12:01 IST
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta and screenwriter Apurva Asrani are among the first voices from the Hindi film industry to condemn Queen director Vikas Bahl over the sexual harassment allegations against him. In 2015, a woman employee at Phantom Films, which had Bahl as one of the partners along side 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. Phantom was dissolved on Saturday amid speculation that it was a result of the assault allegations.
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?" 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.
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
Wish I could do more than just speak out. As a father of two girls I fear them having to deal with such predators just because nobody took any action against Bahl and his ilk- on the contrary a major star has acted in his new film. Who is empowered here? The victim or the creep? https://t.co/Xy1O5djRvN— Hansal Mehta (@mehtahansal) 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 inspite of knowing the truth... studios and stars continue to turn a blind eye to the perpetrators." Bahl is currently directing his next venture Super 30, featuring Hrithik Roshan in the lead.
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.— Apurva Asrani (@Apurvasrani) October 6, 2018
Terrific reportage @aktalkies 👍 https://t.co/nbmE3rrJ6f
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. 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.
(With inputs from PTI)
First Published: Oct 06, 2018 20:15 IST