October 27, 2020
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Desperate To Get Back To Normal Life Though Things Will Never Be Same: Vinta Nanda

Nanda said she "went to sleep" after writing about the alleged sexual harassment on social media and woke up to realise that things will never be the same.

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Desperate To Get Back To Normal Life Though Things Will Never Be Same: Vinta Nanda
Creative Common (File)
Desperate To Get Back To Normal Life Though Things Will Never Be Same: Vinta Nanda
outlookindia.com
2018-12-06T14:45:36+05:30

Writer-director Vinta Nanda, who has accused actor Alok Nath of rape and sexual harassment, says she now "desperately" wants to get back to normal life.

Nanda gave an account of the alleged sexual assault in a Facebook post on October 8, soon after actor Tanushree Dutta's complaint of harassment against Nana Patekar fuelled India's #MeToo movement.

The director said she got the courage to call out Nath after she realised it was for the first time that men in Bollywood were standing up for women.

"My trigger obviously was the atmosphere, there was an enabling environment. I was very certain I will be heard and supported because the movement had gathered momentum, started by Tanushree. I give her all the credit in the Bollywood space, as she took on very big people.

"When I saw that the industry was supporting her, CINTAA was coming out openly and speaking for her... It was the first time in Bollywood where I saw men stand up and speak for women," Nanda said on Wednesday.

She was speaking at a panel discussion on #MeToo at the Mumbai Curtain Raiser of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, which will run from January 24 to January 28.

Nanda said she "went to sleep" after writing about the alleged sexual harassment on social media and woke up to realise that things will never be the same.

"For me, it was over. I had held back for so many years. I was relieved but I had given sleepless nights to everyone, including my family. By the time I woke up, from my building to the office building, there were media vans parked all over the place.

"I woke up to the fact that 'ok now I've done it'. Now I have to live up to it. That's what I am doing until today. I am trying desperately to get back to normal life now. This is the last panel I'm saying 'yes' to because I just have to get back to normal life now," she added.

Last month, Mumbai Police registered a rape case against Nath following Nanda's complaint. He has been booked under Indian Penal Code's Section 376 (rape).

Amid the #MeToo movement that got sparked in India after Tanushree Dutta renewed a decade-old allegation against Nana Patekar, Nanda of "Tara" fame came out about her unsavoury experience with Alok, who has for years enjoyed a holier than thou image on-screen.

In a long Facebook post, Nanda wrote a harrowing account of her personal trauma -- how the actor raped and brutalised her in her own home.

"I have waited for this moment to come for 19 years," Nanda wrote in a long, heart-wrenching Facebook post, referring to the "predator in question" as "the actor par excellence who is known as the most 'sanskaari' (cultured) person in the film and television industry".

"He was an alcoholic, shameless and obnoxious but he was also the television star of that decade, so not only was he forgiven for all his bad behaviour, many of the guys would also egg him on to be his worst," Nanda wrote, adding that he even harassed the show's lead actress who was not interested in him.

Sharing the "worst" that happened, Nanda recounted the incidents that followed after she left a party at Alok's house at 2 a.m. She says her drinks were mixed.

"I started to walk home on the empty streets... Midway I was accosted by this man who was driving his own car and he asked me to sit in it and said he would drop me home. I trusted him and sat in his car.

"I have faint memory after that. I can remember more liquor being poured into my mouth and I remember being violated endlessly. When I woke up the next afternoon, I was in pain. I hadn't just been raped, I was taken to my own house and had been brutalised.

"I couldn't get up for my bed. I told some of my friends but everybody advised me to forget about it and move on."

Later, she got a job to write and direct a series for Plus Channel, and again her paths crossed with Alok.

"The man found his way through the casting route and became one of the lead actors on the show. He created an environment in which I was made to feel threatened, so I asked the producers to release me from directing the series because I didn't want to be around where he was.

"I continued to write the show."

The "most difficult part" and the "main reason" why Nanda took so long to come out with the truth was because while she was working on this new series, she says, "he asked me to come to his house again and I went to allow him to violate me".

"I needed the job and didn't want to leave it as I needed the money. It was after this that I quit."

Nanda has urged people "who have suffered at the hands of predators, to come out and say it aloud".

"Don't hold yourselves back. This is a moment for change, so your silence will only hold barriers to its evolution. Speak out. Shout out from the top of the roof."

Several others also came out about their experiences with Alok, leading film and television associations like CINTAA (Cine and Television Artistes Association) and IFTDA (Indian Film and Television Directors' Association) to send him notices.

Nath has refuted the allegations and filed a civil suit against Nanda and is seeking Re 1 as damages for alleged defamation.

PTI


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