Queen director Vikas Bahl, who was accused of sexual harassment by a former female employee of Phantom films, has been cleared of the charges. The director was made to disassociate as director from Hrithik Roshan starrer Super 30. However, now that the internal inquiry committee set up by Reliance Entertainment has ‘exonerated’ him, he gets to have his credit back as the director of Super 30. Mumbai Mirror revealed the news and quoted a source close to the development saying that the complainant didn’t turn up despite repeated reminders by the committee. Later, people associated with both the complainant and Bahl were interviewed and a unanimous decision was taken in favour of the director.
The news daily quoted the source saying, “It (the committee) also recorded documentation and correspondence between the two and based on this, it has unanimously concluded that Vikas Bahl stands exonerated of all charges levelled against him.”
Officially announcing the return of Bahl on Super 30, the Group CEO of Reliance Entertainment – Shibasish Sarkar, said that they ‘have no choice’ but to have him back after the decision of the committee. He told the daily, “Yes, it is true that the internal complaints committee report has exonerated Vikas Bahl. With the committee clearing Vikas, we don’t have a choice but to reinstate his credit as director of Super 30.”
Vikas Bahl was accused of harassing a woman sexually at a hotel in Goa during a party in the year 2015. The woman had alleged that the director came to her room and misbehaved with her. She also said that she confided in director Anurag Kashyap, who was his partner in Phantom Films, but no action was taken then. Later, when the allegations surfaced again last year under #MeToo, Kashyap, who was Bahl’s co-partner in the production house, announced that Phantom Films stood disbanded then. Kashyap even took to Twitter to offer an apology for not being considerate enough. Bahl then filed a defamation suit against Kashyap and another partner Vikramaditya Motwane for their statements against him in the issue.
After this, Hrithik made an official announcement on Twitter that he won’t like to associate himself with any person who’s accused under #MeToo and therefore, Bahl’s name from the credits of Super 30 on the film’s poster was removed. This development was followed by the complainant formally taking back her complaint against Bahl saying she didn’t want to cause herself more trouble with the proceedings in the case.
Bahl never accepted the allegations and maintained that he apologises to the woman if he has hurt her in anyway. His statement read, “I’d like to sit across the table and talk to her. I want to ask her whether I have crossed the line, whether I did anything to hurt her, and if she feels that way, I’d like to apologise to her. I have known her for long. For two-and-a-half years she has never made me feel as if she is uncomfortable (around me). I have worked very hard to be the person I have become. I do feel victimised, but I don’t know what to do about it.”