The #MeToo movement which shook Bollywood in 2018 is back in action, with a new allegation against a filmmaker by a woman.
Actress Payal Ghosh, who has acted in Telegu and Hindi movies, has accused Bollywood filmmaker Anurag Kashyap of sexual harassing her. In a recent interview with a Telugu media house, the 30-year-old actress stated that the director-producer had once tried to force himself upon her. She also claimed that the 48-year-old filmmaker had said that actresses Richa Chadha, Mahi Gill, and Huma Qureshi have also “just a call away,” implying that they have also given him sexual favours. Payal also called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to offer her protection, claiming that her “security is at risk.”
On his part, Anurag Kashyap has denied the allegations, sharing his Lawyer’s statement on social media.
— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) September 20, 2020
Criticism is mounting on Payal dragging the names of three other women into this controversy, instead of taking her case to the police for justice. Actress Richa Chadha, while supporting the cause of #MeToo movement, said that the allegations are false, and has shared a tweet with her legal statement :
Kashyap’s former wife and actor Kalki Koechlin has also come out in his support:
ट्रोल्स tho ट्रॉल करेंगें pic.twitter.com/tMl7GlRU6o
— Kalki केकला (@kalkikanmani) September 21, 2020
Actress Taapsee Pannu, who has starred in Manmarziyaan (2018) directed by Kashyap, came out in support of him:
This power of calling out n being heard has come to us after years of struggle n suppression. But with great power comes greater responsibility. Misusing it , will send us years back into being ignored n over run. https://t.co/wvXmz68bok
— taapsee pannu (@taapsee) September 20, 2020
Actresses Swara Bhasker and Tisca Chopra were among the many who voices their thoughts on the issue via Twitter:
— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) September 20, 2020
To know my friend @anuragkashyap72 is to know generosity, honesty and decency at its core .. even a cursory look at his work reveals his worldview on women .. don’t know a bigger supporter of talent, men or women ..
— Tisca Chopra (@tiscatime) September 20, 2020
Filmmakers Anubhav Sinha of Thappad (2020) fame and Ram Gopal Varma also defended Kashyap:
Also sending out apologies to all the Film Industry ladies for a recent political narrative that your successes are compromised. Thirty years I have been a witness to all the sweat and blood that goes behind those beautiful glossies. Sorry not many stood up for you all. https://t.co/s7DA1PWQQY
— Anubhav Sinha (@anubhavsinha) September 21, 2020
The @anuragkashyap72 i know is a highly sensitive and emotional person and I never ever saw or heard about him hurting anyone in all of the 20 years that I have known him ..So I frankly can’t picture what’s happening now
— Ram Gopal Varma (@RGVzoomin) September 21, 2020
Notably, Anurag Kashyap had come out in support of a woman who had accused filmmaker Vikas Bahl – with whom Kashyap had co-founded the production house Phantom Films along with Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena – of sexual harassment two years ago.