Queen and Super 30 director Vikas Bahl, who was accused of sexual assault by a former employee of Phantom Films, has broken his silence on the issue and called his former partners – Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane – “opportunists” for using the allegations to defame him. According to a report by Mumbai Mirror, Bahl has sent legal notices to both Kashyap and Motwane, accusing them of orchestrating the whole campaign against him and using the opportunity to disband Phantom Films.
The notice alleges that Kashyap and Motwane are ‘neither a witness nor the alleged victim’ but instead ‘opportunist seeking to derive benefit based on unsubstantiated information’. It added that the alleged incident has not been established in any court of law and has been exploited by Kashyap and Motwane who were anyway discussing the dissolution of Phantom Films for the past few months ‘because of creative and professional differences’.
Phantom Films – helmed by Vikas Bahl, Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena – was dissolved over the weekend, ahead of an article that detailed the victim’s account who alleged molestation by Bahl and how the production house failed to take action.
Bahl’s response came a day after Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA) had sent a show cause notice to the filmmaker, asking him to respond within one week’s time, failing which his membership will be terminated.
The association said it has immediately set up a women grievances redressal cell. The three-women member team will be headed by celebrated TV and film director Swapna Waghmare Joshi as chairperson with Bhavna Talwar as convenor and Priyanka Ghatak as co-convenor.
“This is being done to create a safe place for its women professionals and will only be strengthened when directors and production houses pledge to work for the government-sanctioned POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace) guidelines. This will only lead to the creation of confidence among not only the experienced seniors but the posterity of female professionals who are planning to enter the industry in the future,” the statement read.