Indian director Vinta Nanda who produced and wrote hit TV serial ‘Tara’ has alleged that veteran actor Alok Nath, who was part of the show, raped her.
In a Facebook post, Nanda alleged that Alok Nath raped her and harassed Tara’s female lead. Alok is known for his roles as a stereotypical Indian father, personifying religious traditions and moral values in films and TV shows.
“I have waited for this moment to come for 19 years,” Nanda wrote. Without mentioning the actor’s name, the filmmaker referred to the “predator in question” as “the actor par excellence who is known as the most ‘sanskaari’ (cultured) person in the film and television industry”. She later confirmed to IANS that she was referring to Alok Nath.
“He was an alcoholic, shameless and obnoxious but he was also the television star of that decade, so not only was he forgiven for all his bad behaviour, many of the guys would also egg him on to be his worst,” Nanda said in the post.
The filmmaker recalled the ‘worst’ that happened and narrated the incidents that followed after she left a party at Nath’s house. “I remember being violated endlessly. When I woke up the next afternoon, I was in pain. I hadn’t just been raped, I was taken to my own house and had been brutalised. I couldn’t get up for my bed. I told some of my friends but everybody advised me to forget about it and move on,” she said.
Later, she got a job to write and direct a series for Plus Channel, and again her paths crossed with Nath. “The man found his way through the casting route and became one of the lead actors on the show. He created an environment in which I was made to feel threatened, so I asked the producers to release me from directing the series because I didn’t want to be around where he was. I continued to write the show,” she said.
She said the “most difficult part” and the “main reason” why she took so long to share the truth was because while she was working on the new series, “he asked me to come to his house again and I went to allow him to violate me”.
“I needed the job and didn’t want to leave it as I needed the money. It was after this that I quit,” she said.
Nanda also urged people “who have suffered at the hands of predators, to come out and say it aloud”.
Nath has responded to Nanda’s allegations and said, “Neither I am denying this nor do I would agree with it. It (rape) must have happened, but someone else would have done it. Well, I do not want to talk much about it as for the matter if it has come out, it will be stretched.”
“At one time she used to be such a good friend… today she said such a big thing. In a way, it was me who made her what she is. It is useless to react on the allegations as in today’s world whatever a woman says, only that will be considered. In such a situation, it would be wrong to say anything,” he added.
The year-old #MeToo movement has long failed to take root in India, but a Bollywood actress’s accusations of sexual harassment appear to be emboldening women to speak out at last.
In recent days other Bollywood figures, a comedian, a best-selling author and top journalists have all found themselves accused of abusing their positions to behave improperly towards women.
The spark is actress Tanushree Dutta, who in a recent interview accused well-known Bollywood actor Nana Patekar of inappropriate behaviour on a film set 10 years ago.
She spoke out at the time, to no avail. But the global #MeToo phenomenon encouraged her to go public again and on Saturday to file a police complaint against Patekar, who issued a denial.
Dutta also alleged that filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri behaved inappropriately towards her while shooting a 2005 movie. Agnihotri’s lawyer denied the “frivolous” claims.-Web Desk