#MeToo: Film associations act against artistes accused of sexual harassment

Mumbai, Oct 9 (IANS): The raging #MeToo movement on Tuesday led film associations CINTAA and IFTDA to react in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against actor Alok Nath and director Vikas Bahl. The Producers Guild of India said it will form a committee to help the film fraternity to call out and report sexual harassment and abuse.
The Indian Film and Television Directors Association took a hard stand against “Queen” director Bahl for “outraging the modesty of his female colleague” and condemned his “predatory behavior” against a female crew member of a film or TV unit, read a statement.
“We will not tolerate the abuse of power against our female professionals… In light of the events, IFTDA has taken a stern stand against Vikas Bahl by issuing a show cause notice and asked him to respond within one week, failing which his membership will be terminated,” read a statement signed by IFTDA President Ashoke Pandit.
They have further set up a Women’s Grievances Redressal Cell and a three-member all-women committee to create a safe place for its women professionals.
This apart, the Cine & TV Artistes Association (CINTAA) on Tuesday decided to send a show cause notice to Alok Nath, who has been accused of rape by “Tara” fame writer-producer Vinta Nanda. She says the actor, known for his ‘sanskaari’ on-screen image, raped her almost two decades ago.
Alok has said the allegation was “absurd” as he “made her what she is”.
He told ABP News: “Neither I am denying this nor do I 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.”
CINTAA General Secretary Sushant Singh said a show-cause notice will be sent to Alok. He urged Nanda to file a complaint against “this vile creature” and added: “We extend you full support.”
Nanda, who held a press conference here on Tuesday, feels this was “just the beginning” of the #MeToo movement in Bollywood and other fields in India.
“It will not stop now and it should not stop. It is encouraging. It is just a beginning. Women should not be afraid to speak up.”
Meanwhile, the Producers Guild of India announced that it recognizes the “urgent need to set up a robust process to ensure the highest standards of safety for employees and crew members at the workplace – whether in offices or on sets of productions.
“We are instituting a committee within the Guild to lead this effort, and we are determined to stay the course till workplaces in the industry are safe spaces for everyone,” read a statement.
Several celebrities including Nana Patekar, Rajat Kapoor, Alok Nath and members of comedy collective AIB have been named and shamed for sexual harassment as part of the #MeToo wave.
The Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) decided to drop two films — AIB’s “Chintu Ka Birthday” and Rajat’s “Kadakh” — from the line-up of the upcoming 20th edition of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.
“We as an Academy (MAMI) strongly support the #MeToo movement. In light of recent developments, we have decided to drop the following films from our line-up — AIB’s ‘Chintu Ka Birthday’ and Rajat Kapoor’s ‘Kadakh’,” read a statement from MAMI.
“We want to use this opportunity to open up the conversation and find solutions to harassment and sexual misconduct in the workplace. Starting with this edition of the festival, we would like to unite the community to find positive and constructive ways to deal with it,” the fest’s organisers said.
Filmmaker Anurag Basu believes the #MeToo movement will make Bollywood a safer place to work for everyone.
“I am glad that people are coming up with their experience and sharing it in the public. This will make everyone conscious and they will think twice before indulging in any misconduct and sexual harassment,” Basu told IANS.

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