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#MeToo: More accusations, denials, legal actions in showbiz

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Vinta Nanda

Mumbai, Oct 10 (IANS) The dark underbelly of showbiz continued to shine bright on Wednesday as well-known women like actors Sandhya Mridul and Amyra Dastur and singer Sona Mohapatra came out about their unsavoury harassment experiences, even as the IFTDA sent a notice to actor Alok Nath who has been accused of rape by writer-producer Vinta Nanda.

A day after Nanda addressed a press conference here, claiming Alok sexually violated her around 19 years ago, Sandhya came out and supported her voice, recounting her own experience with the actor who is known for his ‘sanskaari’ on-screen image.

Sandhya took the social media route to describe her ordeal with Alok during an outdoor shoot, where he would trouble her in an inebriated state.

“The problem is sexual harassment has been open to interpretation. I come from a time when nobody wanted to hear. I was a nobody. When I tried to speak I was labelled arrogant and difficult. And replaced from work. And there was no social media to make ourselves heard, directly. It has taken me years to lay those demons to rest and move on,” said Sandhya.

Alok on Tuesday had addressed Nanda’s claim, calling it “absurd”. His lawyer Ashok Sarogi on Wednesday said the accusations against Alok were false.

On its part, the Indian Film and Television Directors Association (IFTDA) on Wednesday said it has drafted a notice to be sent to Alok, and it has already sent a notice to Vikas Bahl.

Bahl was last year accused of sexual harassment by a former employee of the film collective Phantom Films, for an incident that took place in 2015 in Goa. The allegation resurfaced as the #MeToo movement garnered steam in India.

Kashyap last week came out in support of the allegations in a HuffPost India report and also tweeted about it, while Motwane called Bahl a “sexual offender”.

Bahl, known for “Queen”, has sent a legal notice to his former Phantom Films partners Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, whom he has called “opportunists” for making “defamatory allegations” in the wake of the ongoing #MeToo movement.

Bahl was last year accused of sexual harassment by a former employee of the film collective Phantom Films, for an incident that took place in 2015 in Goa. The allegation resurfaced as the #MeToo movement garnered steam in India.

Kashyap last week came out in support of the allegations in a HuffPost India report and also tweeted about it, while Motwane called Bahl a “sexual offender”.

Bahl, through two separate but almost similar legal notices dated October 9 and sent to Kashyap and Motwane via email, has “denied all allegations and suggestions” made by them. He has reserved his “right to take appropriate legal action” against them, and claims the statements have been made as a result of professional jealousy and with the sole intent to defame him, malign his image and destroy his career.

While singer Kailash Kher has already been named by a female journalist, Sona came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct too.

“I met Kailash for coffee in Prithvi Café to discuss a forthcoming concert where both our bands were playing and after the usual, a hand on my thigh with lines like, ‘You’re so beautiful’, ‘Feel so good that a musician got you (Ram) not an actor’,” she tweeted.

Amyra came forward to tell IANS that she has faced harassment in Bollywood as well as in the southern film industry.

Citing an incident, Amyra said: “I have had an actor squeeze himself up against me during a shot in a song and whisper in my ear that he was so glad that I was in the film with him. When I threw him off me and refused to speak to him again, he made my experience miserable.

“My director told me to suck it up and honestly couldn’t care less. I was constantly called early to set, made to wait for hours and hours for my shot. I was made to shoot 18 hours a day, I slept for 4-5 hours if I was lucky.”

However, she says she doesn’t have the “guts” to name and shame the people. “Until I don’t feel safe and secure, I won’t point fingers.”

Actor Kay Kay Menon is all for making the society safer by dealing with sexual harassment cases “seriously”.

The world of Indian showbiz has woken up to volley of allegations against prominent names ever since Tanushree Dutta two weeks ago reiterated her experience with veteran actor Nana Patekar on the set of a 2008 film.

Entertainment

Varun, Katrina to appear together in ‘Koffee with Karan’

Karan also took to Instagram on Thursday to share photographs from the shoot.

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Varun Dhawan and Katrina Kaif
Photo Crideit : Twitter (Karan Johar)

Mumbai, Oct 18 : Actors Varun Dhawan and Katrina Kaif will bring in some fun to the forthcoming season of ‘Koffee with Karan’ with their appearance.

The sixth season, hosted by filmmaker Karan Johar, will premiere on Star World on October 21.

Karan also took to Instagram on Thursday to share photographs from the shoot.

“So much fun in the koffee house today!! A riot of a combination with some great conversation,” Karan shared with the image.

His chat show is hugely popular as he gets his celebrity friends and fraternity members to open up about their lives in an up, close and personal way.

Tag : #KoffeeWithKaran

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MeToo allegations against Anu Malik false, baseless: Lawyer

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Anu Malik

Mumbai, Oct 18: Singer Anu Malik has denied allegations that he sexually harassed singer Shweta Pandit, who has called him a “pedophile” and “sexual predator”.

“The allegations made against my client are emphatically denied as completely false and baseless. My client respects the #MeToo movement but to use this movement to start a character assassination mission is obnoxious,” Malik’s lawyer Zulfiquar Memon told IANS.

Pandit, in a Twitter post, recounted her ordeal with Malik in an incident dating back to 2000. She claims once in a cabin at a studio, he told her he would give her a song with Sunidhi Chauhan and Shaan “but first give me a kiss now”.

“He then smiled, what I would recall the most evil grin I’ve seen,” Pandit said of the incident when she was all of 15 years old.

Before Shweta, singer Sona Mohapatra called out Malik.

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To all the young girls & women who are coming out with their experiences with this creep, journalists, ‘fans’ & even kids from college, know that you are not alone. This guy, #KailashKher is a serial predator & has been for years as are many others like Anu Malik in the industry. I cannot be tweeting about everyone cus I work 18 hour work days & have a life to live & breathe in. Also I cannot comment on many others basis heresay. That would be unfair. (Many journalists have been asking me for stories thinking that I’m most likely to ‘spill the beans’. I’m not) It is important that we stick to facts & our personal experiences to make this a serious & credible movement to help clean a system & lopsided power structure. It is just a start but an important one. #TimesUp #India #Change

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‘Namaste England’ Review: Arjun-Parineeti’s film is outdated and cliched

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namastey england

New Delhi, Oct 18: Film: “Namaste England”

Director: Vipul Amrutlal Shah

Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Aditya Seal, Alankrita Sahay, Satish Kaushik

Rating: *1/2

Designed from a sloppily crafted script sans any logic delivering an equally tactless message, and steeped in mediocrity, Vipul Amrutlal Shah’s “Namaste England”, is a big disappointment.

It is about “the freedom of making one’s choices”.

“Namaste England” is a forced concept, where a married couple separate due to their own whims and fancy only to reunite later after realisation dawns on them.

Jasmeet (Parineeti Chopra) comes from a very regressive family, where women are not supposed to work, but are only meant for giving birth and taking care of children.

So when Paramveer (Arjun Kapoor) falls hook line and sinker for Jasmeet, she makes him promise to let her follow her dreams and work as a jewellery designer. He agrees with a caveat, “If the decision is solely mine, then yes.”

And their love story begins with Paramveer asking, “Jasmeetji, hamare ishq ka inauguration karen ji?” This is a definite lazy way of unravelling a love story.

But sadly for the couple, their romance is eclipsed when Jasmeet’s grandfather makes Paramveer’s father promise that they will not make his granddaughter work.

Burdened with this promise, Jasmeet, hits upon the idea of migrating to England, where she can then pursue her work.

The plot meanders on a frothy pace and right from visa to illegal immigration, issues are tackled in a rather half-hearted manner. The dialogues are equally average, run-of-the-mill.

The characters are frivolous, cardboard thin and rationality to their behaviour zilch. While Arjun and Parineeti are competent actors, their performances are juvenile. You squirm in your seat with every passing moment you see them on screen.

Aditya Seal as Sam, Jasmeet’s husband of convenience in England is short-changed as a stereotypical supporting cast. So is Alankrita Sahay as Alisha, Param’s love-interest in England.

Satish Kaushik as the visa taut, Gurnaam, does not enhance his character and thus is an eyesore. Vinod Nagpal as Sam’s grandfather is wasted in a two scene role.

Mounted with ace production values, the film seems glossy and vibrant, but this is strictly visual only. The songs are seamlessly integrated into the plot and are well-choreographed but they do not add value to the story progression.

Those expecting to see the beauty of England would be disappointed.

Overall, the narrative is slow with sensibilities of the late 1990s.

IANS

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