The latest Bollywood biggie to open up on the Tanushree Dutta-Nana Patekar case is filmmaker Vipul Shah, who has said that instances of sexual harassment are not uncommon within the industry. 

Talking to MyNation, the Namaste England director said, “I am not saying that such cases (sexual harassment) don’t happen in our industry, they take place here also just as in any other field. But the number of women in every unit is increasing. I have seen several units where almost 50 per cent of the workforce is female, while in the other units there are almost 30-40 per cent women. This would not have been possible had the environment been so unsafe. However, because the film industry is always a topic of discussion or news, if one incident happens anywhere, everybody is painted in the same colour.”

The director pointed a finger at filmmakers whose units often experience instances of sexual harassment as opposed to ‘genuine filmmakers’ at whose units such incidents either do not happen or are very rare. He said, “I always say this that within our industry there are two industries, one comprises genuine filmmakers who are serious about the art of filmmaking, who love films, who make 70 to 80 films a year. 

Every year almost 250 films are released in our country. Where the rest of the 150 films are made - most of the gadbad happen there. We do not even know who these people are, where they come from or what films are they making. Such incidents either don’t happen at the units of genuine filmmakers or maybe the number is very less. I don’t know how to fight against these scamsters.”

What is his take on the Tanushree Dutta-Nana Patekar case? Shah said, “I personally feel that those who do not know the truth, in this case, should keep their mouth shut. Because if you speak without knowing the truth, you will do injustice to someone. A police investigation should happen immediately which should be impartial. Once the guilt is established you go after the perpetrator or whoever is at fault, punish that person and make a case out of it. 

However, right now we are in a space of gossip mongering. Every person is adding his or her story, his or her point of view to the case which is reducing its depth and severeness to the level of a gossip. We are not dealing with it the way we should. I see a lack of sensitivity (in the way it is being dealt with). Every person is saying something, some sting operation is being performed, but that is not the important issue. What is important is what had actually happened. we should try to find that out. Once it is established, go really severe and make a case out of it so that whoever is guilty doesn’t dare to repeat such an act.”

The filmmaker revealed a policy which is followed by his company to prevent incidents of sexual harassment or similar issues. When asked what does he do to ensure safety of women working with his company, Shah said, “Our company has a rule. If any newcomer comes to our office for casting or any other job, no executive from our team can meet that person alone. Either they have to bring somebody with them or two people from the company will sit with them. If you are meeting that person alone, then you will have to sit in a glass cabin. So, these are certain basic rules that you have to put in practice to start an environment where girls feel safe coming into your office. Because when they feel safe coming into your office, they will feel safe working with you.”

On the work front, Vipul Shah is directing a film after eight years, his last helmed film being Action Replay (2010). His latest directorial, Namsate England is a sequel to his 2007 flick Namaste London starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif in the lead. Namaste England stars Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor as the lead pair and is slated to hit theatres on October 19.