‘Hope Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao do the right thing’

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Lauding the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI) for dropping projects featuring alleged sexual harassers from this year’s festival, actor Geetika Tyagi has implored festival chair Kiran Rao and superstar Aamir Khan to re-evaluate the hiring of Subhash Kapoor to helm their home production Mogul, the Bhushan Kumar biopic.

After she urged Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao on Twitter to reconsider the superstar’s collaboration with Subhash Kapoor on Mogul, actor Geetika Tyagi tells our that it is up to the industry to carry the #MeToo movement forward. Tyagi, who accused Kapoor of sexual abuse in 2014 is appalled that the director has gone ahead to helm two films since then and is currently working on the Gulshan Kumar biopic.

“Subhash Kapoor was shooting for Guddu Rangeela (2015) when this started. After that, he bagged Jolly LLB 2. (2017) and now, he is doing Mogul. How is he still getting work? I hope Kiran and Aamir will decide wisely. I don’t want them to rob someone of his livelihood, I want them to do the right thing,” says Tyagi, who had even uploaded a video in 2014 that corroborated her claims. The video, which had gone viral, showed the director apologising to her for his actions and ended with Tyagi slapping him.

The actor agrees that over the years, there has been a positive change in the attitude of the industry towards survivors.

Subhash Kapoor
Subhash Kapoor

Pointing out how the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI), led by Rao, set a precedent by dropping films of the accused from this year’s line- up, Tyagi adds that she hopes Rao exercises the same sternness with regard to her husband’s production. “I have met Kiran once. She is a feminist, so I would want to believe that hiring Subhash is an oversight.”

Tyagi has been fighting a lonely battle over the past five years. “The media failed me then. Though I found support initially, it fizzled out. I did everything by the book — I spoke up, named the guy, went to the police — and yet, I was fighting alone. There is no guild that protects actresses to take on men in power. I had second thoughts about being part of the industry. I stopped attending parties; I stopped hanging out. The next hearing is on January. And the trial is yet to begin.”

However, the latest revolution has instilled faith in her. “The movement has gathered momentum. Justice will be served,” she says.

Accused Kapoor was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

Meanwhile. Aamir and his wife Kiran Rao, who run production company Aamir Khan Productions, issued a statement late on Wednesday.

“Two weeks ago, when traumatic #MeToo stories began emerging, it was brought to our attention that someone we were about to begin work with has been accused of sexual misconduct. Upon enquiry we found that this particular case is sub judice, and that the legal process is in motion.

“We are not an investigative agency, nor are we in any position to pass judgment on anyone — that is for the police and judiciary to do. So, without casting any aspersions on anyone involved in this case, and without coming to any conclusions about these specific allegations, we have decided to step away from this film,” read the statement posted by Aamir in Twitter.

The statement further read: We do not want our action to reflect in any manner on the people involved in this case. We believe that this is an opportunity for the film industry to introspect and take concrete steps towards change. For far too long women have faced the brunt of sexual exploitation. It has to stop. In this regard we are committed to doing any and everything to make our film industry a safe and happy one to work in.

Strike 3 for Sanskaari Babuji
Close on the heels of Tara writer Vinta Nanda accusing Alok Nath of rape, a crew member from Hum Saath Saath Hain alleged in an interview to this paper that the veteran manhandled her on the film set.

Sandhya Mridul and Alok Nath
Sandhya Mridul and Alok Nath

In latest development, Sandhya Mridul has levelled charges of sexual misconduct against him. In a social media post, Mridul recounted how an inebriated Nath forced his way into her hotel room during the shoot of a telefilm.

She added that after that night, he would repeatedly call her up. Mridul was so traumatised by his misdemeanour that she got her hairdresser to move into the room with her. Nath apparently apologised to her later, blaming his alcohol addiction for his actions. However, he did a volte-face when he returned to Mumbai by telling “people that I was arrogant.”

Also Read: I’m not a harasser, being attacked and vilified: Chetan Bhagat on #MeToo

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