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An attempt is being made to single me out as insensitive: Ajay Devgn reacts to criticism

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The De De Pyaar De (2019) actor clears the air as to why it was impossible to replace Alok Nath in the film. 

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Mayur Lookhar

From the day the trailer of De De Pyaar De was released, actor Ajay Devgn has been criticized for choosing to act with tainted actor Alok Nath.

Devgn has now issued a detailed statement explaining why it was not possible to replace Alok Nath in the film.

During the trailer launch, Devgn had merely stated that the film was shot before allegations of rape against Alok Nath had surfaced. The actor reiterated that point in his statement, but also gave other reasons. 

“When the entire #MeToo movement happened, I along with many of my film industry colleagues categorically said that I respect every single woman at the workplace and I would not stand for any unfairness or atrocity against them. Nothing about my stand has changed,” said  Devgn. 

"Coming to the question of having worked with Mr Alok Nath in my upcoming film De De Pyar De, I must put certain things in perspective. This film was supposed to be an October 2018 release. The shoot of the film got over by last September.

"The portions with Mr Alok Nath were canned by August in Manali. The said portions were shot over 40 days across various sets and an outdoor location with a combination of over 10 actors. By the time the allegations came out [in October 2018], the actors in the film, including me, had already started work on other films. It would be near impossible to get all the dates and combinations of the several actors in the film and attempt a re-shoot with some other actor replacing Mr Nath. It would also have been a huge monetary loss for the producers."

Devgn went on to add, "Everyone is aware that filmmaking is a collaborative process. The decision to replace Mr Alok Nath could never have been mine alone. In this case, I would have to go with the joint decision of the entire unit. Not to forget, I could not have brought the entire combination of actors back or put up sets again for a 40-day re-shoot because this would mean doubling the budget, which again wasn't my call to make. It would have to be the call of the makers. Had circumstances played out even slightly differently, I would have pushed for a different combination of actors. Unfortunately, this was not to be.” 

Recently, Tanushree Dutta, who has accused Nana Patekar of sexual harassment, had slammed Devgn for having Alok Nath in his film. Devgn hit back at the criticism of him being insensitive to the plight of #MeToo victims in the film industry. 

"I reiterate that I am extremely sensitive to the #MeToo movement. But when circumstances are beyond me, I don't see why an attempt is being made to single me out as insensitive. This is untrue,” he said. 

De De Pyaar De is produced by T-Series and Luv Films and is set to be released on 17 May. Alok Nath has been accused by writer-director Vinta Nanda of raping her years ago. While the matter is sub-judice, Alok Nath has been suspended by the Cine and Television Artistes Association (CINTAA).

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Sexual harassment