BY SUGANDHA RAWAL
New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) Actress Payal Ghosh has claimed that filmmaker Anurag Kashyap tried to molest her once, recalling an incident when he got naked in front of her and tried to get intimate with her.
In an interview to IANS, the upcoming Bollywood actress opened up about the incident that she says happened in 2014, adding that it continues to haunt her.
“I was molested by a very famous director. The director told me that girls he works with ‘have a gala time’ with him. The circumstances created at that moment were very embarrassing,” Payal told IANS.
Asked to name of the director, the actress said: “It was Anurag Kashyap who tried to molest me in 2014.”
On why she stayed silent for so many years and was opening up only now, Payal said: “I tried to open up about it several times, but my family and close friends asked me to be silent to avoid any problem in the future. I wanted to talk about it, but I was silenced. We should talk about it so that people like him don’t abuse their position of power.”
Recalling the incident, Payal said: “First, I went to meet him in his office at Yari Road. He was talking to somebody else, and asked me to sit in front of him. He was busy talking to somebody else and that’s why I left.
“Next day, he called me asking me not to wear anything glamourous that would suggest that I am an actress. He said ‘wear something simple’. So, I went to meet him in salwar kameez. He cooked for me, and picked my plates as well. I left after sometime but he messaged again, asking me to come. I refused, since it was late. He even enquired about who lives with me,” Payal added.
After two or three days, she says she met Kashyap again, when the alleged incident took place.
“He called me over to his home, and I went. I sat while he smoked. After sometime, he took me to another room, where there were many shoes of his then wife Kalki Koechlin. He showed me her shoes, and said ‘my wife has gone to the US. She is angry with me. I used to cook for her too, but don’t cook anymore. She is angry with me’.”
Payal continued: “Anurag also said that girls were ready to sleep with him ‘just to do one film with Ranbir Kapoor’. At that time, he was working on ‘Bombay Velvet’.”
Payal recalled Anurag started playing an adult film at that point.
“I got scared at that moment. That room had many cassettes, books and a sofa. It seemed like a library. After that, he suddenly got naked in front me, and asked me to remove my clothes, to which I said ‘Sir, I am not comfortable’,” Payal claimed.
The actress continued: “He said, ‘all the actresses I have worked with are ready to come to me at just one call’. Again, I said that I am not comfortable. After some time, I said ‘Sir, I am really feeling uncomfortable and unwell’, and just escaped from the place. I didn’t meet him ever after that incident.””He asked me to meet him after that incident also, but I didn’t meet him. That incident haunts me till date,” she added, sharing that Anurag was not even divorced at that point of time.
Anurag and Kalki were married from 2011 to 2015. They officially got divorced in 2015, after announcing their separation in 2013.
“Imagine, someone removing one’s clothes in front of you all of a sudden. I was very young at that moment. I didn’t know what to do. When I shared it with my friends, they asked me to file a police complaint, but I avoided,” Payal stated.
Why didn’t she speak up when the #MeToo movement gathered momentum in India a while back? “My family, my brother, manager and other people from the industry — all of them asked me to stay quiet if I wanted a career in this industry. ‘Your career will get ruined’, ‘no one will work with you’ were some of the things they said to me,” the actress replied.
On why she had chosen this point of time to come out, Payal claimed: “Because it is very important to speak up about these issues, and truth should come forward.”
Payal Ghosh made her feature debut in the 2009 Telugu film “Prayanam”, and has been seen in the 2010 Kannada film “Varshadhaare”, besides the 2011 Telugu releases “Oosaravelli” and “Mr Rascal”. She also had a role in the 2008 British TV film “Sharpe’s Peril” starring Sean Bean.
Her only Bollywood release till date is Sanjay Chhel’s 2017 rom-com “Patel Ki Punjabi Shaadi”, featuring the late Rishi Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Vir Das, Prem Chopra and Shilpa Shinde.
(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
BY SUGANDHA RAWAL