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Meet Payal Ghosh, the actress who accused Anurag Kashyap of sexual misconduct

Payal Ghosh bagged lead roles in South films quite early in her career, but she has been more active on Twitter than on screen the past few years.

Our Correspondent

Actress Payal Ghosh set the cat among the pigeons when she accused filmmaker Anurag Kashyap of sexual misconduct.

She also set Hindi film fans hunting for information on her, as she is not a well-known name in the industry. At least she wasn't until her interview with a Telugu television and tweets on Saturday.

The reason Payal Ghosh spoke to a Telugu television channel is because she has worked mainly in films in the South. That is also why her name was unfamiliar to Hindi film buffs.

In an interview in 2017, Ghosh had revealed how she ran away from home in Kolkata and came to Mumbai since her parents were against her decision to enter the film industry.

“When I was young, after class XII, I ran away from home and came to Mumbai because I wanted to become an actress and not get married at the age of 23," Ghosh had told the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS). "My sister used to live in Mumbai, so I gathered all the money I could and ran to her. I have always been a fan of Madhuri Dixit. She was my inspiration to become an actress.”

Ghosh got her first break with a small role in BBC’s Sharpe’s Peril (2008), a telefilm based on Bernard Cornwell's historical fiction novels about the English soldier Richard Sharpe during the Napoleonic wars. Her big break came in the Telugu film Prayanam (2009) where she bagged the lead role opposite Manchu Manoj Kumar. She followed it up with another lead role in the Kannada movie Varshadhare (2010).

Ghosh then played the important supporting role of the close friend of Tamannaah Bhatia’s character in the Jr NTR-starrer Telugu hit Oosaravelli (2011). She then played the lead role in the Telugu movie Mr Rascal (2011). That, however, remains her last appearance in a Southern film.

Ghosh then made a transition to the Bhojpuri film world with Baba Rangeela (2014). Further down the line, she made her Hindi film debut with Sanjay Chhel’s Patel Ki Punjabi Shaadi (2017), a film that bombed at the box office and was heavily panned by critics.

Three years since her debut, however, the actress has not bagged any other film project. In between her last two films, Ghosh became part of the long-running Hindi daily soap Saath Nibhaana Saathiya in 2016.

Going by the tweets she posted this month, one can say she is an ardent supporter of prime minister Narendra Modi. She posted birthday wishes for him a day in advance and then again on his birthday on 17 September. 

Ghosh has also been speaking a lot online on a host of issues. In one of her tweets, without naming her, Ghosh spoke against actress Rhea Chakraborty, who has been arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in a drugs case in connection with Sushant Singh Rajput's death.

In a recent interview, which she shared on Twitter, Ghosh also questioned the theory that Rajput had ended his own life.

Recently, she supported actress-filmmaker Kangana Ranaut in her spat with the Mumbai municipal corporation and, in another cryptic tweet, targeted Anurag Kashyap.

Earlier this month, Ghosh made racist comments against the Chinese after news of five people in Arunachal Pradesh being abducted by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) emerged. “Chinese don’t deserve love and compassion. I don’t count them among humans. They are just machines. Even animals have more love towards living beings than Chinese!! (sic)” she said, reacting to the news.

In her flurry of tweets, Ghosh has also contradicted herself on occasion, like on the issue of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Around the end of August, she criticized the decision to hold the cricket tournament during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Is playing IPL more important than the lives of our players? I think we should consider the safety of our players and people and give it a second thought,” she tweeted.

However, on Saturday, 19 September, when the first match of this season’s IPL was to be played, she tweeted, “The IPL is back! Can’t wait to see Dhoni playing after so long. Rooting for Chennai Super Kings.” 

Related topics

Sexual harassment Indian cinema