“I pledge to create a short film titled ‘Going Home’, in which we visualise a utopia for women, where, unlike today, mistrust and fear don’t dictate actions and decisions.” Those were Vikas Bahl’s exact words after he directed a short film titled ‘Going Home’ starring Alia Bhatt. In an unimaginable turn of events, Vikas now faces serious sexual harassment allegations that have been leveled against him by a woman employed in his production house, Phantom pictures, a company he runs along with Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena.
In a brilliant story published by Mumbai Mirror, it now emerges that Vikas allegedly tried to force himself on the woman in drunken stupor during a visit to Goa recently. While Vikas has denied the allegations, whispers in the corridors of Bollywood speak otherwise. The director has now been asked to step down from his position in the company.
“The decision needed to be taken because it was getting too much,” said the stakeholder. “There are not one, two or three but multiple victims. I was in the middle of a film shoot when I came to know about the first incident and I had to stop my shoot and come to Mumbai… there is (after all) a young girl on whom an intoxicated Vikas forced himself while they were in Goa. He has behaved badly in the past as well but when this specific complaint came, we needed to act on it,” reports Mirror.
Meanwhile Vikas has denied these allegations. “Nothing has happened. I am running the company. There is no complaint to HR and there is no Vishakha committee. I have heard about this particular lady you are speaking about and the Goa incident. She is not my employee. Yes, I am friends with her, we have worked together and there is a production job we have done together…but if she is feeling like this I would like to sit across a table from her and talk to her. I want to ask her if I have crossed a line, whether I have done anything to hurt her and if she feels that way I would like to apologise for it. I have known her for long. For two-and-ahalf years she has never made me feel as if she is uncomfortable (around me). I have worked very hard to be the person I have become. I do feel a little victimised but I don’t know what to do about that,” Vikas told Mirror.
From the tone and tenor of Bahl’s statement, it does seem something is certainly fishy. Let’s wait and see what comes out of this.