Actor Kangana Ranaut has alleged that filmmaker Vikas Bahl made her feel uncomfortable on several occasions and expressed her faith in a woman who alleged that Bahl sexually assaulted her in 2015.
According to HuffPost India, the woman was an employee of Phantom Films, of which Bahl was one of the partners along with Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena. The woman alleged that Bahl sexually assaulted her after a party in Goa in May 2015. In October 2015, the woman told Anurag Kashyap about the alleged assault but no action was taken against Bahl, the report said.
In January 2017, the woman quit her job at Phantom Films. In March, the woman met Kashyap who told her to denounce Bahl in public and decide his punishment, but the woman refused to do so. On Saturday, Kashyap, Motwane and Mantena announced that Phantom Film was disbanded.
After the report was published on Saturday, Ranaut said she believed the woman who levelled the allegations. Bahl had directed Ranaut in the hit film Queen.
“[I] Totally believe her, even 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,” the actor said in a statement, according to PTI. “I don’t judge people and their marriages but you can tell when addiction becomes sickness.”
Ranaut said Bahl “shamed” her for not being cool and that Bahl was scared of her. “But still every time we met, socially greeted and hugged each other, he’d bury his face in my neck, hold me really tight and breathe in the smell of my hair,” Ranaut said. “It took me great amount of strength and effort to pull myself out of his embrace. He’d say ‘I love how you smell K’. I could tell something is wrong with him.”
Ranaut said it was sad that people were attacking Bahl now “even though the woman asked for help long ago”. “That time the story was conveniently killed but I supported her at that time as well... I thought the movement would catch up but I was wrong,” she said.
The actor claimed that Bahl had approached her with a film script and then stopped discussing the project as Ranaut supported the woman. “I didn’t mind losing out on a good script and I never called him either,” she said. “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 about the same. It’s amusing after the news of Phantom dissolution, many are finding the courage to attack him.”
Anurag Kashyap says he was ill-advised by lawyers
Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap on Sunday posted on Twitter that he was “ill-advised” on the matter by his lawyers and apologised to the woman. Kashyap said given the limited options, the company decided to take a “strong moral stand” that included barring Bahl from the office premises and taking away his signing authority.
“According to legal advice provided to me then, I was told that we had very limited options,” he said. “Now in hindsight and after taking stock of things myself, I can quite see how I was ill-advised.”
Kashyap claimed that the Huff Post India report was published after he corroborated it with the journalist and that he was the anonymous source who leaked the story to the press last year.
Kashyap said: “Why did I take time to corroborate the story? Because I took time trusting the journalist. I placed my trust in him only when the victim told me that I could. Corroborating the story is also taking a stand.
Kashyap said that the woman did not tell him about the incident in Goa because she had seen him dealing with depression.