This has certainly turned out to be big shocking news of the day. Queen director Vikas Bahl has been accused of molestation. Yes, a day after Mumbai Mirror carried a blind article regarding the involvement of a director into this matter, shocking revelation has come out. According to Mumbai Mirror report, a young woman working at Phantom Films had alleged that she was molested by Vikas Bahl during a trip to Goa a few months back.
Following her complaint, Phantom co-partners Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, and Madhu Mantena took the matter in hand and was escalated to Reliance Entertainment with whom Phantom has a 50:50 joint venture. Immediately a meeting was called as per the Vishakha guidelines to hear her grievance. The committee then made a decision and have asked the director to step down from the company’s position as a shareholder.
One of the stakeholders who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “We (Reliance Entertainment and Phantom Films) have taken a hard stand, based on what we have heard and investigated. The decision needed to be taken because it was getting too much,” said the stakeholder. “There are not one, two or three but multiple victims. I was in the middle of a film shoot when I came to know about the first incident and I had to stop my shoot and come to Mumbai…there is (after all) a young girl on whom an intoxicated Vikas forced himself while they were in Goa. He has behaved badly in the past as well but when this specific complaint came, we needed to act on it.”
However, Vikas Bahl has denied any such allegations and has given his part of statement over the same. Talking on the phone from Delhi, this is what Vikas Bahl had to say: “Nothing has happened. I am running the company. There is no complaint to HR and there is no Vishakha committee. I have heard about this particular lady you are speaking about and the Goa incident. She is not my employee. Yes, I am friends with her, we have worked together and there is a production job we have done together…but if she is feeling like this I would like to sit across a table from her and talk to her. I want to ask her if I have crossed a line, whether I have done anything to hurt her and if she feels that way I would like to apologise for it. 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 a little victimised but I don’t know what to do about that.”
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The Queen Director also added saying that he has no idea why he is being dragged into this. He says, “People really like me. I don’t know why anyone would stoop to this level.” About possible fissures in Phantom, he claimed equal innocence. “Phantom Films is like my family. I gave up a huge job to start this company. My shares in Phantom are equal to the others. We are equal partners and best friends.If you have followed (the US sitcom) FRIENDS, you will know that after the first season of the show Ross had become the most popular guy and the makers of the show hiked his fee three times over. He went and told the producers if you are doing it for me you have to do it for the others too. And that was our learning. We will always be equal partners. It doesn’t matter whose movie does well and whose doesn’t. We will always be equal partners.”
Let’s wait and see what investigation reports will reveal.