Actor Huma Qureshi, who worked with Anurag Kashyap on Gangs of Wasseypur, has said that she is furious at her name being dragged into accusations of sexual misconduct made against the filmmaker, by an actor named Payal Ghosh.
Huma took to Twitter on Tuesday to share her statement, in which she emphasised on the need to uphold the sanctity of the Me Too movement. She wrote, “Anurag and I last worked together in 2012-13 and he is a dear friend and an extremely talented director. In my personal experience and to my knowledge he has neither misbehaved with me or anyone else. However, anyone who claims to be abused must report it to the authorities , the police and the judiciary.”
She continued, “I chose not to comment till now because I don’t believe in social media fights and media trials. I feel really angry at being dragged into this mess. I feel angry not just for myself but also every woman whose years of hard work and struggle gets reduced to such baseless conjecture and allegations in their workplace. Please let’s refrain from this narrative. It is the joint responsibility of women and men both to carefully protect the sanctity of #MeToo. This is my final response. Please do not approach me to make any more statements on this matter.”
On Saturday, Payal took to Twitter, and tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wrote, “Anurag Kashyap has forced himself on me and extremely badly. Narendra Modi ji, kindly take action and let the country see the demon behind this creative guy. I am aware that it can harm me and my security is at risk. Pls help!” Payal, in an interview to Bollywood Hungama, claimed that he told her that female actors such as Richa Chaddha, Mahie Gill and Huma would perform sexual favours for him and he expected the same from her.
Anurag’s lawyer issued a statement denying the allegations. The statement read: ‘My client, Anurag Kashyap, has been deeply pained by the false allegations of sexual misconduct that have recently surfaced against him. These allegations are completely false, malicious and dishonest. It is sad that a social movement as important as the #metoo movement has been co-opted by vested interests and reduced to a mere tool for character assassination. Fictitious allegations of this nature seriously undermine the movement and seek to unconscionably trade upon the pain and trauma of actual victims of sexual harassment and abuse. My client has been advised about his rights and remedies in law and intends to pursue them to the fullest extent – Priyanka Khimani.”
Several film personalities, including Mahie, who also worked with Anurag on Gangs of Wasseypur, have provided testimonials for Anurag. Kangana Ranaut, however, has voiced her support for the accuser.
Both of Anurag’s ex-wives — film editor Aarti Bajaj and actor Kalki Koechlin — have slammed the allegations, and have hailed Anurag as a champion of women both on and off the screen. “Dear Anurag,” Kalki wrote in a statement. “Don’t let this social media circus get to you, you have fought for the freedom of women in your scripts, you’ve defended their integrity in your professional space as well as in your personal life. I have been witness to it, in the personal and professional space you have always seen me as your equal, you have stood up for my integrity even after our divorce, and you have supported me when I felt unsafe in a work environment even before we got together.”