Filmmaker Vikas Bahl, who allegedly misbehaved with a former employee of Phantom Films during a professional trip to Goa in 2015, found himself amid controversies when the #metoo wave took over India. He was also removed from his directorial Super 30, starring Hrithik Roshan and backed by Reliance Entertainment. The concerned woman, whose identity remained undisclosed, however, refused to take the matter forward. Reliance Entertainment, which held 50% stake at Phantom, ordered an internal inquiry into accusations against Bahl. The committee has now given Bahl a clean chit.
Reportedly, despite repeated reminders, the victim did not turn up before the committee. The clean chit will now enable the filmmaker to return to Super 30 and have his name as the director in the credit slates. We reached out to singer Sona Mahapatra, who is often vocal about harassment against women and misogyny in the industry, to find how she felt about Bahl getting away with misconduct.
"The shade is honestly on anybody who is just waiting for an excuse that one poor girl didn't show up. Means everything she said in the past in detail to a publication is all lies? It was all a conspiracy to malign Vikas Bahl? Come on. There are multiple people who spoke up against Vikas' behaviour over the years. She was not the only one. So suddenly the producers of Super 30 are forgetting all of that? (As they are now giving Vikas the credit as Director) They are conveniently just looking for one straw to latch on to? That's their call, they have their conscience to live with. They have to sleep with that conscience," Sona told In.com.
Clearly not pleased with the committee's decision to let Bahl go, she also emphasised on a more sensitive and empathising system. "The whole system, the industry, should come together and question their own conscience here and try and understand that which women have we right now shown solidarity to the extent of saying we will understand something as a systemic problem when multiple sources have confirmed certain person's consistent behaviour which fits in to a certain narrative," she said.
But why is it that women do not often proceed with formal complaints/legal actions even after being abused?
"I am in touch with three minors. One has been specifically raped by one of these people (Bollywood). I am in touch with them. The parents are completely against the idea of making a formal complaint, no matter what emotional, financial or legal support you offer them. They are stunned currently thinking it will go against them, badnaami unki hi hogi. That is pretty much the Indian headspace. Till people say they want to take a stand. We can't force people to make legal move. It will need support and handholding of people," Sona answers.
The trailer of Super 30 releases next week. We are to see if Bahl makes a public appearance and chooses to speak on the entire episode! Read More