The #MeToo movement has seen many Bollywood bigwigs dragged into the limelight either for being the harasser or for keeping quiet about something that they have knowledge of. One such person was filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, who is embroiled in a legal battle with his former partner and director Vikas Bahl. Anurag was part of the now-dissolved Phantom Films, which was founded, along with him, by Vikas, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena.
Vikas was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee of Phantom Films, and Anurag and director Vikramaditya had come under fire for their alleged inaction after they came to know about the sexual harassment allegations. Both however have denied the charges, with Anurag saying that he was silent all those years to protect the victim.
In an interview with PTI on Thursday, Anurag was asked his views on the #MeToo movement, which gained momentum in India after actress Tanushree Dutta accused veteran actor Nana Patekar of harassing her on the sets of 2008 movie Horn Ok Please. The filmmaker said there is a need to understand and grow up to the movement, which has taken the industry by storm.
“I cannot talk much. Because at this moment whatever I say may be misconstrued or can be taken in any which way and can be used here (in this case). All these years of my silence (was) to protect one person, the victim. I will take the consequences and I have been taking the consequences. I will take the consequences and I have voluntarily taken consequences and stepped back from the work. I will not explain my actions. My priority is something else,” he said.
On being asked what his priority was and if it was to get justice for the victim, Anurag said, “The priority is victim’s peace.”
Regarding Tanushree and Vinta Nanda being the only ones who have taken legal action, while not many women have followed a similar route, he said, “We are still growing up to it, we are still understanding it. Years of anger will come out and then people will come to know what is the right way. We all will take time to understand. I don’t want to say anything further till my non-complicity is proven, I am not qualified to comment on it.”
The woman, who accused Vikas of sexual misconduct, filed an affidavit on Thursday stating that she stands by her allegations but does not want to pursue the case further. She had initially expressed her reluctance to file an affidavit and had only submitted a statement.
Vikas on the other hand is seeking court direction to Anurag, Vikramaditya and Madhu to refrain from speaking to the media or posting on social media about the case. He is also seeking damages of Rs 10 crore in a defamation case against Anurag and Vikramaditya.
Anurag and Vikramaditya had earlier filed affidavits, stating that Vikas had confessed to the incident and had also said that he has done so to many women.