In­dia #MeToo claims bring halt to Bol­ly­wood block­buster

Kuwait Times - - Lifestyle | Music & Movies -

ndia’s grow­ing #MeToo storm halted pro­duc­tion of a Bol­ly­wood block­buster Fri­day, with the film’s lead call­ing for ha­rass­ment claims against its di­rec­tor and his co-star to be “strin­gently” in­ves­ti­gated. Star Ak­shay Ku­mar said he had re­quested that the mak­ing of “House­full 4” be stopped fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions against di­rec­tor Sa­jid Khan and one of the film’s ac­tors, Nana Patekar. Ac­cu­sa­tions that Patekar be­haved in­ap­pro­pri­ately on a film set 10 years ago sparked In­dia’s #MeToo move­ment, which has since en­gulfed Bol­ly­wood fig­ures, a govern­ment min­is­ter and sev­eral co­me­di­ans and top jour­nal­ists.

Patekar de­nies the al­le­ga­tions. “I’ve re­quested the pro­duc­ers (of “House­full 4”)... to can­cel the shoot un­til fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion. This is some­thing that re­quires strin­gent ac­tion,” Ku­mar said on Twit­ter. “I will not work with any proven of­fend­ers and all those who have been sub­ju­gated to ha­rass­ment should be heard and given the jus­tice they de­serve,” the 51-year-old ac­tor added. Khan, 46, tweeted his own state­ment shortly af­ter­wards to an­nounce that he was step­ping down from the film “un­til the time I can al­lay the al­le­ga­tions and prove the truth”.

Three women, an ac­tor, an as­sis­tant di­rec­tor and a jour­nal­ist took to Twit­ter on Thurs­day to ac­cuse Khan of sex­ual ha­rass­ment. The ac­tress said Khan had in­sisted that she strip dur­ing an au­di­tion while the jour­nal­ist al­leged the di­rec­tor had flashed his p **** at her dur­ing an in­ter­view. Ku­mar’s state­ment came two days af­ter Bol­ly­wood power cou­ple Aamir Khan and his film­maker wife Ki­ran Rao an­nounced that they were with­draw­ing from the film “Mogul” over a mo­lesta­tion case against di­rec­tor Sub­hash Kapoor. Kapoor de­nies the charges. Ku­mar and Khan’s in­ter­ven­tions are be­ing lauded for pos­si­bly sig­nal­ing a water­shed mo­ment in Bol­ly­wood, where es­tab­lished male stars rarely speak out in sup­port of vic­tims. Some In­dian ac­tresses have long said that the in­dus­try, which is dom­i­nated by a few pow­er­ful play­ers, needs to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment where vic­tims can come for­ward

“I will not work with any proven of­fend­ers”

without fear of be­ing os­tra­cized. Film­mak­ers Anurag Kashyap and Vikra­ma­ditya Mot­wane an­nounced at the week­end they were sev­er­ing ties with Bol­ly­wood di­rec­tor Vikas Bahl over a sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tion. Bahl de­nies that he sex­u­ally as­saulted a fe­male em­ployee of Phan­tom Films, the pro­duc­tion house be­hind Net­flix orig­i­nal “Sa­cred Games”, in 2015 and has threat­ened to sue Kashyap and Mot­wane for defama­tion.

— AFP pho­tos

In­dian jour­nal­ists hold plac­ards at a protest against sex­ual ha­rass­ment in the me­dia in­dus­try in New Delhi.

In­dian Bol­ly­wood ac­tress Tanushree Dutta talks dur­ing an in­ter­view with an In­dian me­dia out­let in Mum­bai.

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