The Simran (2017) actress spoke about encountering the filmmaker's allegedly sadistic mentality while filming for Queen (2014).
Vikas Bahl bragged about having sex with a new partner every other day: Kangana Ranaut
Mumbai - 06 Oct 2018 22:45 IST
Phantom Films has been dissolved and Vikas Bahl finds his reputation in tatters. First the website huffingtonpost.com revealed the gory details of how Bahl allegedly molested a Phantom employee after a Bombay Velvet (2015) wrap-up party in Goa in 2015.
Now Kangana Ranaut, whom Bahl directed in the hit film Queen (2014), has opened up about her bitter experience working with the filmmaker.
The Bahl sexual harassment controversy first came to light in 2017 and Ranaut was asked about the charge at an event last year. Back then, without knowing the details of the case, Ranaut issued a general statement condemning any such act.
Now, as the voices expressing horror and anger at Bahl's actions grow, Ranaut has chosen to reveal more about Bahl’s allegedly sadistic mentality.
In an interview to the website missmalini.com, Ranaut revealed some of Bahl's grotesque behaviour.
Backing the Phantom employee, Ranaut said, “Though Vikas was married back in 2014 when we were filming Queen, he bragged about having casual sex with a new partner every other day. I don’t judge people and their marriages, but you can tell when addiction becomes a sickness. He partied every night and shamed me for sleeping early and not being 'cool' enough. I often told him off.”
Ranaut went on to reveal how she felt uncomfortable in Bahl’s presence. "He was scared of me, but still every time we met socially we greeted and hugged each other," the actress said. "He would bury his face in my neck, hold me really tight, and breathe in the smell of my hair. It took me a great amount of strength and effort to pull myself out of his embrace, He would say, ‘I love how you smell Kangana.' I could tell something was wrong with him."
The actress is disturbed how the woman whom Bahl allegedly targeted is finding more support now after Phantom Films has been dissolved but could not get any help in these three years.
"What is sad is that now that Phantom has been dissolved, many are attacking him, though [when] the girl asked for help long ago, that time the story was conveniently killed," she said. "But I supported her at that time as well. You can see my media interaction during one of my brand endorsement interactions. I thought the [#MeToo] movement would catch up, but I was wrong at that time."
The actress also claimed that because she had spoken in favour of the victim, Bahl, who had offered her a script, refused to speak to her.
“Vikas had come to me with a script about a gold medallist from Haryana," Ranaut said. "When I supported the girl, he stopped talking to me. I didn’t mind losing out on a good script and I never called him either. I was determined to say what I felt was right. But the matter was pushed under the carpet and I didn’t hear any updates."
While Ranaut is known for her plainspeaking, the timing of her statement did cause some eyebrows to be raised on social media. After all, come 25 January 2019, Ranaut's Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi will be competing with Bahl’s Super 30, which stars her nemesis, Hrithik Roshan.
Super 30 is serious competition and given the war that Ranaut had had with Hrithik Roshan over their alleged affair, her attacking Bahl does give cause for some suspicion.
In a bizarre statement, however, Ranaut seemed to suggest that the media, social media, and society in general were being selective in taking up such issues. Was she hinting at her battle with Hrithik Roshan?
“It’s amusing after the news of Phantom dissolution many are finding the courage to attack him [Bahl]," she said. "Shame on such a society. Go look at yourselves in the mirror, bunch of cowards. Attacking powerless men won’t begin a movement. Either we do it or we don’t. Let’s not be opportunists. If we are a shit society, let's at least have that much honesty within yourself. Selective outrage will only serve as entertainment. This will just be tabloid gossip and nothing else.”
Meanwhile, calls for action against Bahl are intensifying within the film industry. Hansal Mehta, who directed the Ranaut-starrer Sirman, tweeted: “Will anybody do anything about this bloody creep or will the industry protect him like it always does?”
Will anybody do anything about this bloody creep or will the industry protect him like it always does? 'Queen' Director Vikas Bahl Sexually Assaulted Me, Phantom Films Did Nothing: Survivor Speaks Out https://t.co/dKeqlMkE0n— Hansal Mehta (@mehtahansal) October 6, 2018
Manto (2018) director Nandita Das, too, backed the victim allegedly molested by Bahl. “The hushed whispers are getting louder and finally being heard," she said. "We all need to be in it together. Let’s give courage to those who want to speak up but haven’t felt able to yet.”