'I FELT IT WAS THE RIGHT TIME FOR ME TO TALK'

In a gut­wrench­ing post, writer­pro­ducer Vinta Nanda says she was sex­u­ally as­saulted by the lead ac­tor of her hit TV show, Tara, in the ’90s

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - City - - NEWS - Kavita Awaasthi ■ kavita.awaasthi@htlive.com

With the #Metoo move­ment gain­ing mo­men­tum in In­dia in the past few weeks, a new case emerged late on Mon­day evening. In a chill­ing post, tele­vi­sion pro­ducer and di­rec­tor, Vinta Nanda, has ac­cused ac­tor Alok Nath of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her when she was the pro­ducer of the ’90s show Tara, which starred the ac­tor in the lead role.

She shared de­tails of the in­ci­dent that oc­curred 19 years ago with­out nam­ing the ac­tor in her post. Later, she con­firmed to IANS via text that, “It is Alok Nath. I thought say­ing ‘san­skaari’ would do the need­ful.” Ex­cerpts from an in­ter­view:

Af­ter 19 years, what made you want to share your story now?

It was im­por­tant for me to speak up now, in light of #Metoo, or else I couldn’t carry the cause for­ward. I had been fol­low­ing posts re­gard­ing #Metoo and felt it was the right time to talk. I am over­whelmed with the sup­port and re­sponse from my peers and the pub­lic. I didn’t ex­pect it, as I had posted on my Face­book page. I woke up feel­ing like a new per­son. I am feel­ing re­lieved. If it wasn’t for this en­vi­ron­ment, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. If I hadn’t posted, I wouldn’t have un­der­stood how strong the move­ment is in In­dia.

What do you feel about the move­ment?

It is im­por­tant that it hap­pened. The world hasn’t pro­vided any mo­ment bet­ter than now for a woman like me to speak up. If peo­ple from my gen­er­a­tion don’t come out and speak, how do you ex­pect young girls to have the courage to do it? The move­ment shows the level of frus­tra­tion women in our coun­try feel. My friends and I had been talk­ing about this ever since #Metoo picked up in In­dia, with Tanushree Dutta break­ing the glass ceil­ing. It was nat­u­ral for me to speak up. It is an en­abling and in­tro­spec­tive time for women who have been through trauma or to sup­port those who have [been trau­ma­tised]. It is also time for men to in­tro­spect and re­alise where one draws the line, and what are the lim­its of su­pe­ri­or­ity that most of them feel.

Will you file a po­lice com­plaint?

I don’t know. I posted what hap­pened, as I felt strongly about it. I have not thought be­yond that. I have to see how it turns out and what I need to do. The pri­or­ity would be to pro­tect my­self. More­over, this is a pu­rani baat, and I am emo­tion­ally over it. I in­ter­nalised it long ago.

While you gave am­ple hints, why did you re­frain from nam­ing the ac­tor in your post?

I didn’t think it was nec­es­sary to take his name. I thought ‘san­skaari’ was a give­away. It was my way of re­veal­ing who he was, and there is no one who didn’t un­der­stand who he was. It was in my com­fort zone not to name him.

I EMPATHISE WITH VINTA: NAVNEET

In a state­ment to NDTV, Navneet Nis­han, who played the lead in Tara, said: “I sup­port ev­ery woman and man stand­ing up for them­selves in the #Metoo move­ment. I empathise with Vinta for the ter­ri­ble pain she has gone through. I dealt with the four-year ha­rass­ment by slap­ping the man in ques­tion, and it is done and dusted. l suf­fered the loss of the show and was shamed by the man through me­dia. I en­dured that. I am im­mensely glad that the power trip and sex­ual dom­i­nance com­ing from this power is be­ing called out. It is high time.” (sic)

MEAN­WHILE...

CINTAA head, ac­tor Sushant Singh, tweeted his sup­port for Vinta. He said that CINTAA will ask for a show cause no­tice from Alok Nath, on why he should not be ex­pelled. He tweeted, “Dear @vin­tananda I am so so sorry. As @Cin­taaof­fi­cial a show­cause No­tice will be sent to @alok­nath first thing in the mrng, why he shudnt b ex­pld. Un­for­tu­nately we’ve to fol­low the due process. I urge u to file a com­plaint against this vile crea­ture, we ex­tend u full sup­port.”

PHOTO: KUNAL PATIL/HT

Vinta Nanda

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