BY ARUNDHUTI BANERJEE
Mumbai, Sep 24 (IANS) Veteran television producer Vinta Nanda, who was among the first women to break their silence and trigger off the MeToo movement in the film industry a couple of years back, feels there is a danger that the movement is getting derailed in this country.
Nanda addressed the issue while commenting on actress Payal Ghosh’s allegations of sexual misconduct against filmmaker Anurag Kashyap.
“The (Anurag Kashyap-Payal Ghosh) case you are referring to is different from my case. This is a catch-22 situation. When I broke my silence, several women came out and said they had also experienced something of that kind with that particular man. See, in our industry everyone knows what goes on but for years we have maintained silence. So, when I broke my silence and other women came forward and shared their stories, it helped us find our voice, made our account credible and the #MeToo movement gained momentum,” Nanda told IANS.
However, she feels Payal Ghosh’s case is different from hers. Soon after Payal levelled sexual misconduct allegations against Kashyap, several actresses who have worked with him, such as Taapsee Pannu, Huma Qureshi, Radhika Apte, and Mahie Gill, came out to vouch for the filmmaker. Kashyap’s ex-wives, Aarti Bajaj and actress Kalki Koechlin, have also dismissed the idea that the director could be a sexual predator.
“In this (Payal’s) case, the opposite has happened. Those actresses who worked with Anurag Kashyap have come up to stand by him and have shared their experience of working with him. The #MeToo movement was something in which women trusted women, and that is how we felt empowered and came out with our stories. I am confused about this situation,” said Nanda.
She added: “I think the whole movement is getting derailed this way. As a woman, you do not pull down the dignity of other women, you uplift them. Here, just the opposite thing has happened. I feel currently the movement is agenda-driven, politicised, and weaponised, and that saddens me. It took years for women to find a voice, and this way we are ruining the credibility of the movement,” said the producer, known for TV show ‘Tara’.
Nanda was one of the earliest female celebrities to come out with her story of sexual harassment, along with actress Tanushree Dutta in 2018. Writer-producer Nanda had accused actor Alok Nath of sexual harassment and rape in the nineties.
In a Facebook post she wrote in October 2018, the writer-producer had recalled the sexual brutality she was subjected to. Eventually, several actresses like Himani Shivpuri, Sandhya Mridul and Deepika Amin among others came forward to support Nanda, mentioning that they too had been victims of Alok Nath’s predatory behaviour.
Nanda said that she does not want to speak in favour or against of Payal at this point, adding that the case should rather be investigated.
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at [email protected])