The crew member, who wished to be anonymous, said that the actor stripped in front of her and manhandled her.
Hum Saath Saath Hain crew member and Sandhya Mridul accuse Alok Nath of sexual misconduct
Mumbai - 10 Oct 2018 14:29 IST
Updated : 15:17 IST
A second case of sexual misconduct by veteran actor Alok Nath has come to light. This time a crew member from the film Hum Saath Saath Hai (1999) has levelled serious charges against him.
While talking to Mid-Day, she said that the actor stripped in front of her and manhandled her. “We were shooting for a night scene and I had taken a change of costumes to him. Once I handed him the clothes, he started stripping in front of me. I was taken aback, and tried to make my way out of the room as soon as possible. When I tried to run out, he grabbed my hand and manhandled me. I remember yanking my hand out of his grip and rushing out of the room,” she said.
However, she didn’t report the matter to director Sooraj Barjatya as she wasn’t sure how he would react. “I was shell-shocked. I couldn't muster the courage to speak up against him. He was extremely close to the Barjatyas, and Sooraj sir would have taken it badly,” she added.
Although she doesn’t do movies anymore because of this incident, she is thankful to television producer Vinta Nanda, who spoke about her experience yesterday, and CINTAA (Cinema and TV Artists Association) for taking action against Nath.
“I don't actively do movies anymore. The course of my career changed [after this episode]. But Vinta's post brought it all back. I am glad CINTAA is taking action against him. I salute Vinta's courage; I wish I could show the same courage, but life has come way past it and I can't put my family through this,” she said.
Two actresses from the 1990s television serial Tara, Navneet Nishan and Amita Nangia, have agreed and sympathized with Nanda. Navneet said that she slapped Nath after she faced harassment for years. That also cost her the show. Nangia recounted numerous instances when Nath had misbehaved. She also said that once he was offloaded from a flight after he slapped the pilot.
Meanwhile, actress Sandhya Mridul has also accused Nath of sexual misconduct. In a statement released by her, she said that she was shooting for a teleserial at the very start of her career. She was delighted to have Nath and the late Reema Lagoo as her co-stars. But her happiness didn’t last long.
“Till one night after an early pack up. The cast went out for dinner. At dinner he got progressively drunk and started insisting I sit with him and that I belonged to him and other stuff that I don't clearly remember but it made me very nervous and uncomfortable. My co-star realised what was happening and got me out of there,” she said.
That was just a start though. “Few minutes after he left there was a knock on my door I opened the door thinking it was him again. It was an inebriated Alok Nath. I instinctively tried to shut the door, but he pushed it and lunged at me. I stepped aside, he went flying past me into the room. I fell back toward the bathroom door. He lunged at me again screaming 'I want you you're mine'. I dodged again. He went into the bathroom and I think I latched the loo door and ran out of my room down the corridor into the lobby,” she added.
She added, “Fortunately, my DoP was there making a call from the reception. He came back to my room [and] what ensued was traumatic because a belligerent Alok Nath refused to leave... kept screaming shouting threatening abusing trying to grab me... but at some point we managed to make him leave. The hairdresser was called and made to sleep in my room I was so shaken up."
She added that she had scenes with Nath just after few hours where she had to sit on his lap and cry. “It didn't stop there. Every evening he would drink and every night calls were made to my room. I dreaded the ring. I had to keep it off the hook most of the times. But then he would come calling. It was a catch 22 situation. I had the hairdresser moved into my room permanently. I was a nervous wreck,” added Mridul. She couldn’t shoot for days following this.
Then one day, a twist in the tale occurred. “One day when he landed up at the door and cried and begged to be allowed in to apologise.. I couldn't take it anymore I told her to accompany him in... he pulled a chair next to my bed and howled. Said he was an alcoholic and that he had destroyed everything, his family his marriage everything, and I was like his daughter and he respected me and that he was very sorry. He says he had learnt his lesson and that he would go to therapy and change it all,” he said.
However, she claimed that Nath started badmouthing her after returning to Mumbai. “But it was too late. The damage was done. A very disillusioned, disgraced & unsure me returned home. He went on to return to Bombay and tell people I was difficult and arrogant. All apologies forgotten. He was a popular man I was a newbie. He laid the foundation others like him built on. All those who heard 'No'. Attitude my biggest crime. The deal breaker [sic].”
She signed off with a message for Nath and Nanda. “Mr. Alok Nath. You know this to be true. As do few others. I had to forgive you for myself then and for my sanity but I will never forgive you for what you did with Vinta. Whom I have always respected and loved. I stand by you Vinta. What I went through is nothing compared to you. I'm so sorry,” she said.