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After Vinta Nanda, Sandhya accuses Alok Nath of harassment

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Mumbai, Oct 10: Actress Sandhya Mridul on Wednesday came out in support of writer-producer Vinta Nanda’s sexual harassment allegation against actor Alok Nath, sharing her own ordeal with him during the shoot of a telefilm in Kodaikanal.

Nanda, a veteran writer-producer of the avant-garde 1990s’ show “Tara” fame, accused actor Alok — known for his “sanskaari” on-screen image — of sexually violating her almost two decades ago.

Sandhya took to Twitter to share her own experience, which left her “disillusioned and unsure” in the industry.

She wrote: “At the very start of my career, I was shooting a telefilm in Kodaikanal. I was the lead. And very excited. Alok Nath was my on-screen father and Reema Lagoo my mother.

“Alok Nath was very impressed with me and called me ‘God’s own child’ and openly praised me every day. I was over the moon. I was a huge fan of this wonderful Babuji. I felt so fortunate happy and confident.”

However, she recalled that one night, Alok got “progressively drunk”.

“And started insisting I sit with him and that I belonged to him and other stuff that I don’t clearly remember but it made me very nervous and uncomfortable. My co-star realised what was happening and got me out of there,” she added.

“We went back to the hotel without dinner. It was late and I was back in my room and the costume dada came to my room to give me my clothes for the next day as I had a very early call time. Few minutes after he left there was a knock on my door I opened the door thinking it was him again.

“It was an inebriated Alok Nath. I instinctively tried to shut the door but he pushed it and lunged at me. I stepped aside, he went flying past me into the room. I fell back toward the bathroom door, he lunged at me again screaming ‘I want you, you’re mine’.”

The actress claims she ultimately had to latch the bathroom door and then ran out of her room down the corridor into the lobby. After she sought help from the show’s director of photography, Sandhya says “what ensued was traumatic because a belligerent Alok Nath refused to leave. He kept screaming, shouting, threatening, abusing, trying to grab me… but at some point we managed to make him leave”.

This, when in a few hours that she had scenes with ‘Bauji’.

“In one, I had to sit on his lap and cry. I still feel nauseous when I think of it,” said Sandhya, adding that Alok continued drinking every evening and would “traumatise” her with calls to her room every night.

One day, she recounted, he said to her that he was an alcoholic and that he had destroyed everything — his family and his marriage.

“I finally broke my silence. I screamed, shouted, cried and it was done. I believed him. I had to.”

Sandhya says she is grateful to her co-actors, the DOP and the late Reema lagoo for taking him on and protecting her.

“But it was too late. The damage was done. A very disillusioned, disgraced and unsure me returned home.”

According to Sandhya, Alok then told people that she “difficult and arrogant.”

“Alok Nath. You know this to be true. As do few others. I had to forgive you for myself then and for my sanity, but I will never forgive you for what you did with Vinta. Whom I have always respected and loved. I stand by you Vinta. What I went through is nothing compared to you.”

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Judge me, but don’t judge my kids: Ajay Devgn

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Ajay Devgn Kajol with Nysa and Yug
Ajay Devgn and Kajol with their children Nysa and Yug

New Delhi, Feb 20: Much like the children of other Bollywood celebrities, actor Ajay Devgn and Kajols 15-year-old daughter Nysa and 8-year-old son Yug, get a lot of media attention and are often targeted by social media trolls.

In an interview to IANS, Devgn, a protective father, said social media users should not judge his children.

He said: “Judge me, but don’t judge my kids. Kajol and I are the actors, judge us…it’s because of us, our children are under the spotlight everytime.”

“Being judgmental about someone is not a good thing. If I start passing a judgement on someone, that person would obviously feel bad…so do my children,” he added.

The “Singham” star, who was in Delhi to promote his fortcoming film “Total Dhamaal”, said, “Honestly speaking, those people don’t really matter. But I feel bad sometimes when my kids go through such harsh trolling.”

The star couple’s first child Nysa recently got trolled and body-shamed for her airport look – and this was not the first time she was being targetted.

Asked about how Nysa deals with “such harsh comments”, Devgn said: “She used to get upset over trolling earlier, but now she doesn’t care about it anymore. She knows how to deal with it. She has accepted that there will be some people who will keep judging no matter what.”

On how to tackle trolls, he said, “Avoid it… If you will react, they will react more and this will continue. So better to stop fighting against trollers.”

Commenting on how people have reacted angrily to remarks by some actors on the Pulwama terror attack, Devgn said: “In such a crucial situation, it is better if we become conscious while choosing our words because people are angry and you never know how someone at the opposite end interprets your message or post.

“One can be misinterpretted anytime and then you can’t sit down and explain to people that what were your real intentions. It’s better if we all become little conscious and don’t react to things immediately. Think twice before writing anything on social media to avoid hurting someone’s sentiments.”

IANS

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Sting operation: Bollywood celebs, TV actors caught agreeing to promote political parties for money

Actors Vivek Oberoi, Shakti Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Amisha Patel, Mahima Chaudhary and Sonu Sood, and singers Kailash Kher, Abhijeet and Mika were some of those caught on camera accepting the deal for toeing the agenda of a political party or endorsing it for money.

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Sting operation: Bollywood celebs

New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) More than 30 Indian film and TV industry actors/artistes agreed to spread the propaganda of political parties through their social media accounts for money, which they asked to be paid in cash, in other words in untaxed black money, it has been revealed in a sting operation.

Actors Vivek Oberoi, Shakti Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Amisha Patel, Mahima Chaudhary and Sonu Sood, and singers Kailash Kher, Abhijeet and Mika were some of those caught on camera accepting the deal for toeing the agenda of a political party or endorsing it for money.

The celebrities were caught on camera accepting the cash-for-tweet offer during a sting operation conducted by media portal Cobra Post over a period of 3-4 months last year.

Cobra Post on Tuesday released the sting operation in a video documentary titled ‘Operation Karaoke’, in which actors, dancers, singers and models were caught accepting the offer for promoting political parties through hidden cameras.

The reporters, acting as agents working on behalf of the Congress, the BJP or the Aam Aadmi Party, made an offer to pay 10-20 per cent of the decided sum in cheque or bank transfer, and the rest through cash, which the celebrities accepted.

Vidya Balan, Raza Murad, Arshad Warsi and TV actor Saumya Tandon were the only ones who refused the offer.

Celebrities were offered Rs 2 lakh to Rs 20 lakh per message according to their brand value. Some celebrities even asked the reporters-cum-agents for up to Rs 20 crore citing the sway they hold on the Twitter sphere.

These celebs agreed to promote the party — any which was proposed to them — to create a favourable environment before the 2019 general elections.

They swore to keep the entire exercise a secret and the agenda hidden.

“This way, you (celebrities) are manufacturing an opinion through social media. If you reveal that you have taken money for the promotion that you are doing, it would be fine… If we go by the trend, these people may not shy away from propagating a communal agenda either,” said journalist and former Aam Aadmi Party member Ashutosh during the press conference.

He compared the celebrities who accepted the deal to “trolls” and called trolling a “paid syndicate mafia”.

Hartosh Singh Bal, political editor of Caravan magazine, also addressed the reporters and termed the incident a telling foreboding of the “dangerous times” ahead.

“We are going to see the consequences of this in the coming elections,” he said.

The impact most of these celebrities can have through their handles in denting or boosting a party’s image can be gauged from the number of followers almost each of them has on Twitter.

Amisha Patel has 3.95 million, Vivek Oberoi above 2 million and Sonu Sood 1.5 million followers on Twitter. Jackie Shroff has 2.27 lakh, Kailash Kher has over 5 lakh and Tisca Chopra of ‘Taare Zameen Par’ fame has 3.20 lakh followers on Twitter.

Model and actress Sunny Leone, though one of those agreeing to promote the BJP on camera, issued a disclaimer on Twitter hours after the press conference, rubbishing the news of promoting a political party.

“Hi, this is to inform you that I am not campaigning for any political parties, unlike the news that’s circulated talking about me doing so… If I choose to promote anything in political life I would choose things I only believe in,” she tweeted. Leone alone has 3.95 million followers on Twitter.

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Nothing personal against Atif Aslam, but towards Pakistan government: Arko

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Atif Aslam
File Photo of Atif Aslam

Mumbai, Feb 19: Composer Arko, whose song “Baarishein”, featuring Atif Aslam, has been pulled down by T-Series in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack, says he has no personal hatred against any Pakistani singer, but he has a strong stand against the neighbouring country’s government for repeatedly failing to control terrorism.

“I have nothing personal against Atif or any Pakistani talent for that matter because they are artistes like us. I have a problem and I have everything against the Pakistan government and its approach toward handling terrorism that is taking the lives of our people and army personnel,” Arko told IANS in an interview.

The song “Baarishein”, featuring Atif and Nushrat Bharucha, released on February 13. The very next day a deadly terrorist attack took place in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, orchestrated by the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed. It left at least 40 CRPF troopers dead.

While several Bollywood celebrities have shown solidarity towards the families of the martyrs, social media is filled with people demanding strong action against such terrorist attacks.

“Baarishein” was pulled down from the YouTube channel of T-Series on Monday.

Arko feels showing solidarity will not offer any solution to the situation, but he said: “Not taking a strong stand considering the gravity of the situation, would be worse.

“I do not want any violence that cost human lives of common people, but no retaliation on such an inhuman attack is worse than continuing collaboration, a dialogue. There is no doubt that we all want peace, but not by staying silent when the bloodbath is happening.”

In the past, Arko has collaborated with many Pakistani singers like Ali Azmat and Shafqat Amanat Ali apart from Atif, and delivered songs like “Yeh jism hai toh kya”, “Allah waariyan”, “Tere sang yaara” and “O saathi”.

“I know any artiste or common individual is not responsible for what has happened, but the government is. That is why setting out a stand clearly is important. The solution, of course, would be a much complicated political conversation. I am certainly not the right person to comment on that matter, but the act of terrorism can never be supported,” said the composer,” Arko said.

What is the future of the song?

“Hopefully we will bring the song back with another singer because the copyright of the content is with me and T-Series. Since the video features Atif, we have to look into that matter too, which is a little complicated but we will resolve the issue,” replied Arko.

IANS

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