Organisers 'privately' informed that Kashyap's involvement with #MeToo accused Vikas Bahl was the reason behind the movie's exclusion, says filmmaker Shazia Iqbal
Mumbai: The trickle-down effect of the #MeToo movement has already begun as filmmaker Anurag Kashyap found out the hard way.
Kashyap had drawn a lot of flak for allegedly shielding and taking no action against director Vikas Bahl over sexual harassment complaints by a former employee. Now, his independent venture with filmmaker Shazia Iqbal, Bebaak, has been dropped from the Mumbai Film Festival.
The movie starring Sarah Hashmi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vipin Sharma was initially accepted in the Spotlight section at the festival but was suddenly dropped. In her open letter, Iqbal claimed that in spite of repeated emails, she was offered no official explanation. However, she was privately told that Kashyap’s involvement with her film was the reason.
She wrote, "I understand there are ‘collateral damages’ in a battle but my film is as feminist as this battle we are fighting; and if you’re shutting down a film that starts a conversation against misogyny and patriarchy, then what side of the battle are you on? What side of the movement do you all belong to?"
She also argued that the movie was independently produced by Ajay Rai of Jar Pictures apart from Kashyap.
She added, "Phantom Films (of which the directly accused, Vikas Bahl was part of) has nothing to do with us. There was no monetary or production involvement with the accused in any capacity."
A former employee had levelled sexual harassment allegations against filmmaker Vikas Bahl during a trip to Goa. The woman reportedly worked at Phantom Films, which had Bahl as one of the partners alongside Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena, and spoke about her experiences to HuffPost India.
According to the woman, insisted on dropping her to her hotel room on the early hours of 5 May 2015 and pretended to pass out drunk on her bed, only to awaken soon after and masturbate on her. She also said that even after reporting the incident to Anurag Kashyap, no stringent action was taken and she ended up resigning in 2017.
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Last Updated Oct 21, 2018, 11:41 AM IST