While lead actor of Bahl's directorial, Super 30, Hrithik Roshan released a statement saying that he had 'requested the producers to take a harsh stand', producer Sajid Nadiadwala has kept mum so far.
Vikas Bahl ousted from Amazon Prime project, Super 30 producers stay mum
Mumbai - 09 Oct 2018 14:49 IST
Updated : 15:19 IST
After the account of a survivor who was sexually assaulted by director Vikas Bahl in 2015 came out and led to the dissolution of Phantom Films, helmed by Anurag Kashyap, Madhu Mantena, Vikramaditya Motwane and Bahl, three more women came out with separate accounts alleging harrasment at the hands of the Queen (2014) director.
While Ranaut narrated her account of sexual misconduct by the director, one is an anonymous account, the other is Ranaut's Queen co-star, Nayani Dixit. The actress said that she gave it back to him by saying '‘main tumhe maarungi if you do this again’ when he tried to put his hand on her.
"Next day, when I came on the sets, something went wrong with my hair. I didn’t get it as it’s not my area of concern. But Vikas blasted me and he behaved very weird with me. Now when I look back, I realized why this behaviour. Since he did not get a chance on me, he was taking revenge," she said.
After multiple accounts of sexual harassment at the hands of Bahl have come out, there is a deserved question mark on Bahl's future projects.
As pressure mounts, a source informs us that Bahl has been dropped from an Amazon Prime Video original show, he was slated to direct after Super 30. The show, a reboot of an Australian series which involved couples spicing up their sex lives, is being produced by Monozygotic Solutions, a company run by MTV Roadies fame duo Raghu Ram and Rajiv Lakshman.
According to a report in Mid-Day, the show was scheduled to roll by end of the year. "But with the latest controversy, Amazon wouldn't be comfortable backing it with Vikas on board. The production house has discussed the matter with Amazon, and will soon start scouting for another director," the report quoted a source.
Raghu Ram and Amazon Prime Video haven't issued any official statement yet.
On the other hand, there is no clarity on what will happen to Bahl's next directorial, Super 30, currently in its post-production stage, and slated to be released on 26 January 2019, on the same day as Kangana Ranaut-starrer Manikarnika.
The film's lead actor, Hrithik Roshan issued a statement on 8 October saying that "it was impossible" for him to work with any person if he/she is guilty of such grave misconduct." He also urged the producers to take "a harsh stand".
"It is impossible for me to work with any person if he/she is guilty of such grave misconduct. I am away and have access to only sporadic information. I have requested the producers of Super 30 to take stock of the apparent facts and take a harsh stand if need be. This is not to be hushed or brushed under the carpet. All proven offenders must be punished and all exploited people must be empowered and given strength to speak up," his statement read.
The film is co-produced by Phantom Films, Sajid Nadiadwala and Reliance Entertainment. It will be Phantom's last project. On allowing Bahl to use the Phantom Films banner for Super 30 despite knowing about the sexual assault of an employee, Motwane said, "Phantom is not one person’s property. We couldn’t stop Vikas from using the brand. We had nothing to do with the film, but we could not stop him. It’s stupid but it’s the truth."
We reached out to Nadiadwala multiple times regarding Bahl's future role in the film, but got no response.
There seems to be an eerie silence around the film at the moment. Perhaps, the producers need to take a leaf out of the way these situations were handled by the West.
An insider tells us that "there have been conversations around how to handle the matter as legal contracts are involved."
"There has been discussions about possible routes they can take, including possibility of dropping his credit from the film, keeping him away from the promotions and if there is a way to fire him, as pressure is mounting on producers to take strict action," said our source close to the project, adding, "But we are not aware as to what decision will finally be made."
In Hollywood, as the #MeToo campaign gathered steam last year, many of the industry's powerful men were dropped from their assignments after being accused of sexual assault and harassment.
While lead actor and executive producer on House Of Cards, Kevin Spacey was ousted from season 6 of his own show, Emmy-winning actor Jeffrey Tambor was sacked by Amazon Studios' show Transparent in the wake of sexual harassment allegations by his co-stars.
The Royals' creator, executive producer and showrunner, Mark Schwahn, was promptly suspended following sexual harassment allegations against him made by the female cast and crew of his previous series, One Tree Hill.
There are plenty more examples Hollywood has set, including that of one of the most powerful names in the business, Harvey Weinstein.
Bahl was obviously hired as director on the project despite the allegations against him already being out in the news. Now, we wonder why it is taking Nadiadwala and co. so long to take action against someone who has been accused by at least four women of sexual assault or sexual misconduct.