New Delhi, As a spurt in the ‘me too movement’ in the country, in the wake of Tanushree-Nana Patekar controversy, leads to several women from all walks of life breaking silence on the incidents of sexual harrassment against them, writer-producer-director Vinta Nanda has accused actor Alok Nath of having raped her 20 years ago.
In a facebook post, Vinta, without naming Alok Nath, said,'” I have waited for this moment to come for 19 years.Irony is that the man, the predator in question here is the actor par excellence who is known as the most #Sanskaari (Cultured) person in the film and television industry.’
‘He was an alcoholic, shameless and obnoxious but he was also the television star of that decade, so not only was he forgiven for all his bad behaviour but many of the guys would egg him on to be his worst. My lead female actor was being harassed by him,’she said.
Recounting an incident when she left after attending a party at Alok’s house at 2 am, Nanda said,’ I was invited to a party to this mans house, his wife, my best friend was out of town,’ she said,’It was usual for our group of friends from theatre to meet regularly so there was nothing unusual about my going to the party.
As the evening flowed, my drinks were mixed and I began to feel strange. Then at around 2 am I left his house.Nobody followed me or offered to drop me home, which was what was rather unusual. All I knew at the time was that I had to get home. I could sense it wouldn’t be right for me to stay there any longer.
I started to walk home on the empty streets although the distance to my own house was long,’ she said.’Midway I was accosted by this man who was driving his own car and he asked me to sit in it and said he would drop me home. I trusted him and sat in his car. I have faint memory after that. I can remember more liquor being poured into my mouth and I remember being violated endlessly.
When I woke up the next afternoon, I was in pain. I hadn’t just been raped, I was taken to my own house and had been brutalised. I couldn’t get up for my bed. I told some of my friends but everybody advised me to forget about it and move on,’ she said.
On what took her so long to come out with the truth, she said,’ I’m totally fine now, healed and reunited with my own self again. I’m afraid of speaking to an audience. For someone like me who was fearless and could talk to large audiences for hours, it is something that bothers me so I’m working on it.
The only reason I’m telling this story now is because I don’t want that any girl should ever fear holding the truth back. What followed because of my silence was even worse.’
‘I became easy prey because the message had been put out that I was afraid and so I would not open my mouth. The couple of times that I wrote about what I had gone through created more complications because I stopped getting work.
To deal with all the fear and shame I drank myself silly almost every evening and even flirted with drugs. I had friends who rallied around me and helped me clean up and restart my life in 2009, which meant that I had lived my trauma for 10 long years.
Social Media also saved me,’ she said.’I had been done, dusted and buried as a professional but I was back in the face of the world on Facebook and soon on Twitter as well. I had tremendous support from some friends including their trust, so I became emboldened and bounced back,’nanda said.
Ms Nanda’s account forms part of the #MeToo movement in the Bollywood, which has taken social media by storm with actors such as Vikas Bahl, Rajat Kapoor and singer Kailash Kher being named for alleged harassment.
When asked for his reaction on the allegation by Nanda, Aloknath, talking to a Tv channel, said,’Neither I am denying this nor I would agree with it. It (rape) must have happened, but someone else would have done it. Well, I do not want to talk much about it as for the matter if it has come out, it will be stretched.”
‘At one time she used to be such a good friend… today she said such a big thing. In a way, it was me who made her what she is. It is useless to react on the allegations as in today’s world whatever a woman says, only that will be considered. In such a situation, it would be wrong to say anything,’ Aloknath said.