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#MeToo : Kangana Ranaut accuses Vikas Bahl of sexual harassment

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Kangana -Ranaut

New Delhi, Oct 7: “Queen” star Kangana has accused the Bollywood Director Vikas Bahl of sexually harassing on the sets of the 2014 film and said “he bragged about having casual sex with a new partner every other day. I don’t judge people and their marriages but you can tell when addiction becomes sickness. He partied every night and shamed me for sleeping early and not being cool enough.”

Director Vikas Bahl was accused of molestation by a female employee of Phantom Films in 2015.  Ranau has openly supported the survivor’s claim. She said that she “totally believes” the victim and it does not come as a surprise to her.

 

But the “MeToo” flames now sweeping across social media have turned into a cleansing firestorm, burning holes in carefully honed public personas and turning the heat back on those whose job is to keep the social conscience and hold the powerful to account.

From best-selling authors to creative filmmakers to senior media editors and other guardians of public morality — people across industries are being named and shamed by the “MeToo” and “Time’s Up” movements which began in Hollywood a year ago.

The irony is profound in the case of celebrity author Chetan Bhagat. With a Twitter following of over 12.3 million, Bhagat has long been an active social commentator. But it is social media that is now pestering him with questions.

“Bhagat now finds himself arraigned in the court of public opinion, having to answer charges ranging from sexual harassment to wilful abuse of power that comes from a mass culture of celebrity worship. The old cliche of idols having feet of clay couldn’t ring truer,” said a senior media analyst.

On Saturday, Bhagat responded quickly to the charge with a somewhat abject apology, saying “sorry” for “going through a phase” in trying to “woo” a woman — all of this without naming the woman concerned.

“Much of what Bhagat says suggests that he believes himself to be no worse than ‘stupid’, guilty at best of misreading the drift of an intense, friendly social interaction and not being able to exercise ‘better judgment’.

“There was, as he puts it, ‘nothing physical’, ‘no lewd pictures or words were exchanged’ — as though sexual harassment cannot be said to have taken place in the absence of these overt predatory markers,” the analyst said.

In a scenario where silence or brazening it out are seen by many as an acceptable option, this may come as a relief. But is it enough, the victim might want to ask?

The lady who came out against comedian Utsav Chakraborty and opened a Pandora’s box of harassment complaints against a slew of popular comics on social media feels “punished” for telling the truth and claims she is facing post-traumatic stress disorder. And it doesn’t matter that Chakraborty wrote tweets over tweets explaining the “context” of his behaviour because the damage was done a long time ago.

It was actress Tanushree Dutta who last month gave the MeToo campaign the much-needed spark in India when she renewed an old allegation against acting veteran Nana Patekar of harassment on the sets of a 2008 film, “Horn OK Pleasss”. A decade ago when she came up with the same accusation, she says she felt silenced by those in power.

But now, there’s silence no more.

 

Filmmaker Hansal Mehta has openly called “Queen” director Vikas Bahl a “creep” as the latter grabbed the spotlight, again in light of the MeToo movement, over allegations by a woman who had earlier accused him of sexually assaulting her.

“Will anybody do anything about this bloody creep or will the industry protect him like it always does,” questioned Mehta, who as a father of two daughters, fears they would have to deal with such “predators”.

Faced with sustained trolling and criticism, Mehta finally declared that he was “done with Twitter”.

“A platform that has ambiguous guidelines about hatred, negativity and abuse is no platform for debate or discussion — forget social change. Goodbye,” he said before deleting his account.

 

Two women have also come out about singer Kailash Kher.

As Nandita Das noted, “The hushed whispers are getting louder and are finally being heard.”

“Unlike in the past when such discussions disappeared all too quickly from the media, this time it appears that more people are listening. Women at the work place and outside too often face harassment and violence that almost always goes unreported. Especially, though not only, when perpetrated by powerful men.

“I am adding my voice in support with the hope that more lasting change comes out of this,” Das said.

The fire has spread from Bollywood and the comedy space to the news media industry as well, with a slew of journalists and editors being named.

Now, as Shobhaa De puts it, there are people “waiting impatiently for ‘MeToo’ in Indian politics”.

“Who will cast the first stone?” De asked.

Cities

NCB chief Asthana in Mumbai, apprised of developments in case

Besides the NCB, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED are also probing his death.

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Rakesh Asthana

Mumbai, Sep 27 : With the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) questioning several top Bollywood divas as part of its investigation into the drug angle in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, the drug law enforcement agency’s chief Rakesh Asthana arrived in Mumbai on Sunday to take stock of the probe.

According to NCB sources, Asthana, who flew from Delhi to Mumbai earlier in the day, met several officers and was briefed on the two drugs cases the agency had registered last month after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) wrote to it following the alleged chats of several Bollywood celebrities purportedly discussing drugs.

He was also apprised of the latest developments in the case by the NCB’s SIT.

The NCB questioned Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor and Deepika’s former manager Karishma Prakash on Saturday.

It had questioned Bollywood actor Rakul Preet Singh, Dharma Productions’ former executive producer Kshitij Prasad Ravi, fashion designer Simone Khambatta and Anubhav Chopra on Friday.

After being questioned for several hours, Kshitij was also arrested by the NCB on Saturday.

The agency has already arrested Sushant’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty, her brother Showik, the late actor’s house manager Samuel Miranda, personal staff Dipesh Sawant and several others.

Sushant was found dead in his Bandra flat on June 14.

Besides the NCB, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED are also probing his death.

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Shooting at NOIDA Film City to begin in 3-4 months, officials inspect site

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had recently approved a proposal to set up the Film City in 1,000 acre of land along the Yamuna Expressway, near Noida

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Film City NOIDA

Shooting at the upcoming Film City in Gautam Buddh Nagar can begin in three to four months from now, senior government official Awanish Awasthi said Sunday, according to BJP MLA Dhirendra Singh.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) and Information Awanish Awasthi inspected the site in the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority’s (YEIDA’s) Sector 21 and instructed officials to submit a detailed project report (DPR) soon.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had recently approved a proposal to set up the Film City in 1,000 acre of land along the Yamuna Expressway, near Noida.

Jewar MLA Dhirendra Singh tweeted in Hindi, Additional Chief Secretary to UP government Awanish Awasthi toured the proposed film city site in Sector 21 of Yamuna Authority. He said that shooting will begin at this location in 3 to 4 months.

YEIDA’s officer on special duty Shailendra Bhatia said Awasthi observed the road connectivity and development adjacent to the site and in the areas nearby. He also instructed YEIDA to prepare the DPR for the film city.

Asked as to by when a DPR could be submitted, Bhatia told PTI: As soon as possible.

Awasthi, also the chairman of Film Bandhu, the nodal agency of the state government for cinema-related activities, was joined by YEIDA CEO Arun Vir Singh during the site inspection.

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Urvashi Rautela: I wish you self-esteem so high that you’re humble

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Urvashi Rautela

Mumbai, Sep 26 : Actress Urvashi Rautela has a simple wish for her fans and followers on social media.

In a new Instagram, picture, Urvashi is seen dressed in a blue shirt and white blazer. She completes her look with bright bold lips and smokey eyes.

“I wish you self-esteem so high that you’re humble,” she wrote alongside the image, which currently has 414K likes.

The actress is currently busy with her Telugu debut film, “Black Rose”, directed by Sampath Nandi.

Urvashi recently gave a sneak peek into the character she plays in the film. “Our makers have unveiled the first look of the film, Black Rose, today and as you can see I am wearing a beautiful sari that also symbolises the title of the film. I am seen walking on the runway in the poster,” she had said.

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