India’s bigwigs Alok Nath, Kailash Kher accused of sexual misconduct

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As India’s #MeToo movement began recently, women have come out and narrated their stories on different social media platforms.

Following allegations against Utsav Chakraborty, Nana Patekar, Anurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl, Rajat Kapoor and others, TV bigwig Alok Nath was also accused of the same by Vinta Nanda, a veteran writer-producer of the avant-garde 1990s’ show Tara. 

Vinta took to her Facebook to narrate the incident that took place around two decades ago saying that she was “shattered” after the ordeal.

“I have waited for this moment to come for 19 years,” Nanda wrote in a heart-wrenching Facebook post, referring to the “predator in question” as “the actor par excellence who is known as the most ‘sanskaari‘ (cultured) person in the film and television industry”. Following her post, Nanda confirmed that it is Alok Nath she was referring to saying, “It is Alok Nath. I thought saying ‘sanskaari‘ would do the needful.”

She continued her post saying, “His wife was my best friend. 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, many of the guys would also egg him on to be his worst,” Nanda wrote. She recounted the incidents that went down that night after she left a party at Alok’s place.

Claiming her drinks were mixed she continued to say that “I started to walk home on the empty streets… 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,” she further said.

“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.”

Later, she got a job to write and direct a series for Plus Channel, and again her paths crossed with Alok.

“The man found his way through the casting route and became one of the lead actors on the show. He created an environment in which I was made to feel threatened, so I asked the producers to release me from directing the series because I didn’t want to be around where he was. I continued to write the show.”

She further stated why it took so long for her to say something about this and said, “he asked me to come to his house again and I went to allow him to violate me”.

“I needed the job and didn’t want to leave it as I needed the money. It was after this that I quit.”

Nanda has urged people to speak out against the predators saying, “Don’t hold yourselves back. This is a moment for change, so your silence will only hold barriers to its evolution. Speak out. Shout out from the top of the roof.”

Meanwhile, singer Kailash Kher has also been accused of sexually harassing a photojournalist Natasha Hemrajani back in 2006, when she visited his house for an interview. “My #MeToo ⁠has singer Kailash Kher, from when I was a newly appointed young woman photographer in 2006,” she disclosed.

Sharing her ordeal in a series of Twitter posts, Natasha said, “I was sent with my colleague, a woman journalist, to take pictures of Kailash Kher at his home for an interview. During the interview, this creep sat between us as close to us as he could. He also kept putting his hands on our thighs (on the skin above our skirts).”

“We were appalled & left as soon as possible. I discussed with my colleague the idea of writing the interview from the point of view of unwelcome sexual molestation but she said the paper would never publish it because it would be libel (even if we were both witnesses),” she further said.

The photojournalist continued to add that “I’ve let a number of friends and colleagues know about this incident with Kailash Kher and the main reaction is always a shaking of the head, and ‘this happens, as a woman you’ve got to look after your own self’ logic/expression”.

However, Kher in his defence told Indian media that “for all those who know me and have come across me, will know how much I respect humanity, especially women, even more for the ones who work in media since their work is difficult”.

Kher added, “I am usually in my own simple world, but in case anyone has taken or thought something differently about anything, then it is my sincere apology. My devotion to music makes me who I am and I am thankful for all the love and support,” he said.