Shilpa Shinde on sexual harassment charges: Sanjay ji touched me on the pretext of taking a photo

Updated on Mar 25, 2017 04:34 PM IST
The actor opens up about her FIR against Sanjay Kohli, producer of Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai, and the threats she received from his wife Benaifer Kohli, co-producer of the show.
Shilpa Shinde earlier portrayed the role of Angoori Manmohan Tiwari aka Angoori bhabhi in Bhabhiji Gharpe Hai.(Vidya Subramanian/HT)
Shilpa Shinde earlier portrayed the role of Angoori Manmohan Tiwari aka Angoori bhabhi in Bhabhiji Gharpe Hai.(Vidya Subramanian/HT)
Hindustan Times | ByAnjuri Nayar Singh, New Delhi

Actor Shilpa Shinde filed an FIR against Sanjay Kohli, the producer of her last show Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai, accusing him of sexual harassment on Thursday. The actor says that it all started out as a joke, but she tried to stop when things went out of control. “In our industry everything is taken lightly. Guys say so many things and if you react to them, they go like - ‘we are kidding’. Things like – ‘You are looking, hot sexy’ - are common. Sanjay ji used to come on the set and while Benaifer would take care of all the paper work, he would be the one who would talk like this to us,” she says.

Picking out specific instances when she felt sexually harassed, Shilpa says, “Once Sanjay ji told me that for the promotion of show, we will have to go out.and that we will have a nice time. Also, in the make-up room, he came close to me and photo lete huye and apna haath rakha mujhe…I could feel that touch was not right,” she says.

Shilpa says that she brought this up with her co-actor Saumya Tandon as well. “I spoke to Saumya also about this, but she was like – ‘Humari industry mein koi rape nai karta Shilpa’. But I told her that I was feeling very uncomfortable,” she says, adding, “Later I got to know that Saumya told Benaifer (co-producer Benaifer Kohli, Sanjay’s wife) because two days later Benaifer asked me if I wanted to leave the show. She told me - ‘yeh kya keh rahi ho tum…koi pyaar se baat karta hai, toh tumhe yeh sab lagta hai. Humein do minute lagenge tumhara career spoil karne mein.’

The show made headlines last year when Shilpa has accused the producers for mentally torturing her and questioned the exclusivity clause in her contract which barred her from doing other shows simultaneously. The producers, in turn had accused her of throwing tantrums on the set, leaving the show mid-way and asking for more money.

Talking about why she didn’t talk about being sexually harassed at that time, Shilpa says, “That time, the way they portrayed everything and played games, I could not understand and believe that this could happen. Other artists in the show were also not talking to me. I thought that they (the producers) will apologise and it will sort out in 2-3 days. I also told some people (about the sexual harassment charges), but they asked me what proof do I have.”

She adds, “My friends also told me that I should have taken the first move (legally). But I was like – ‘I can’t do this to people who sign my cheque, they can do and say anything about me. The entire unit is with them. I know how they behaved with Kiku Sharda (actor in TV show FIR). They would make him stand and not give him the scene. This is like white collar mafia.”

While she is determined to sort out the matter once and for all, Shilpa says the last year has not been easy for her. “I was depressed and was on medication most of the time. Every day something has been happening since then. Either a lawyer is coming or they (the producers) are sending something. My watchman has also asked me time and again if anything is happening. Benaifer used to record my phone calls. I don’t know aur kya karegi yeh aurat. Artists ke paise isne bahut khaye hai,” she says, adding, “They spoilt my career. Even when I was attending events such as a ribbon cutting ceremony, they told the organisers not to invite me. Jis tareeke se mujhe barbaad kar sakte the, they did that,” she says, adding, “I am going to court. I am not going to leave them. Inko andar daal ke rahoongi.”

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