Cine and TV Artists’ Association (CINTAA) conducted a press conference on Wednesday in which it discussed at length the #MeToo movement that has taken the country by storm. The press meet was presided over by the body’s president Vikram Gokhle, General Secretary Sushant Singh and Senior Joint Secretary Amit Behl.
Earlier CINTAA had announced that it would be sending a show-cause notice to actor Alok Nath after writer-producer Vinta Nanda had accused the actor of sexually assaulting her. CINTAA General Secretary Sushant Singh had then issued a statement saying that Vinta should file a complaint against “this vile creature” (Alok Nath).
CINTAA had also said that they would thoroughly look into the matter of Tanushree Dutta after the actor alleged that she was sexually harassed by Nana Patekar on the sets of the 2008 film Horn Ok Pleassss. However, the body had later washed off its hands from the matter saying that “the constitution of the association does not allow us to look at cases that date back to more than three years.”
Read all the updates from CINTAA press conference in Mumbai.
'If someone is not happy with our decision, they can take legal action'
If somebody has already taken legal action, we as a union cannot take up sub judice cases. If someone comes to us first, we will act on them. And if someone is not happy with our decision, they can obviously take legal action, says Sushant Singh.
Sushant Singh on Nana Patekar's membership with CINTAA:
Nana Patekar is still the member of CINTAA just as Tanushree Dutta is. Their case is a legal one. Any action that has to be taken is only after the investigation is over and the results are out. We can't pronounce him guilty, just as how we have cannot not take Ms Dutta's complaint seriously, says Sushant Singh.
Vikram Gokhle on what action will be taken if someone is proved as an offender
As a union, the max we can do is remove their membership with us. The fraternity has to take a call on whether they want to ban proven offenders from the industry. We do not have the right to take away work from anyone. It is illegal. The producers have to make sure that they take strict action, so the offenders don't think that they can get away, says Vikram Gokhle.
We will be following Vishakha guidelines, says Sushant Singh
We will be following Vishakha guidelines. We'll have more than 50% women on the committee. Swara Bhaskar is going to be involved, says Sushant Singh.
'We are drafting proper guidelines on sexual harassment'
We are drafting proper guidelines on sexual harassment. This will tell people what is good conduct, what is misconduct, what is harassment. We are planning to come up with something like a comic book for all with these issues being spoken about, says Amit Behl.
'There is lack of unity among CINTAA members'
We have around 9000 members, but maybe because CINTAA is looked at as a complaining centre, and the amount of time that is taken to tackle cases, people lose their faith in us. There is lack of unity among the members. But now we are looking at many things, we are more holistic. We are looking at having workshops. We are more aware and passionate about our work, says Sushant Singh.
We stand with Flora Saini and Vinta Nanda, says Sushant
Even Flora Saini and Vinta Nanda have come to us. These women didn't have the voice then, but today they know that we stand with them, says Sushant Singh.
We are here for the ones who are not strong, says Sushant Singh
CINTAA is not a school that everybody has to come to us with their greviences. If bigger production houses can tackle their issues on their level, then good. We are here for the ones who are not strong. We stand by every member who comes to us with their problems, says CINTAA general secretary Sushant Singh.
Let's be sensitive to the MeToo movement, says Amit Behl.
Let's be sensitive to the MeToo movement. Let's not talk about particular cases as it will take away from the action that we are trying to take to eradicate sexual harassment from our work places, says CINTAA senior joint secretary Amit Behl.
Vikram Gokhle on Nana Patekar-Tanushree Dutta case
The case with Nana Patekar is serious. I am not someone who can give an official comment on it. We are getting so many notices. At this moment, we will not take anybody's side. We are studying what happened in 2008, and now that it has come up again after ten years, we are going to deal with it very seriously. But we can't comment on it right now because the matter in now a judicial matter, says CINTAA president Vikram Gokhle.
'We can make work conditions better for our fellow actors'
We are all creative people. We can't make laws, but we can make the work conditions better for our fellow actors, says Amit Behl.
CINTAA looking at permanent amendments
Most of us in the committee do a lot of work in TV. So, at the end of the day, every law, regulation, whatever we make, that is against the studio or the employer. This can be changed by the next committe. But we are trying to make more effective and permanent amendments, says Amit Behl.
Amit Behl on MeToo movement
We genuinely feel for the MeToo movement. Nobody knew that this would blow up in our face. We knew this problem was there. We were tackling it too, but this movement will now give the issue more emphasis. We'll make sure we take proper, legal action, says Amit Behl.
CINTAA outreach programme
We have an outreach programme. This way, each member is connected to ten other members in every zone. If there is a complaint that happens late at night, we can help the victim, says Amit Behl.
When CINTAA took action against a casting director
We got a complaint against a casting director. We had enough footage and proof against him. And we made sure he was fired, says CINTAA senior joint secretary Amit Behl.
CINTAA seeks support
We appeal the fraternity to join hands with us, and we become strong enough that everybody benefits from CINTAA, says Vikram Gokhle.
CINTAA to look into technicians' payment issues
Many technicians come to us complaining about their payment issues, that they don't get paid on time. We are working to solve this issue, says Vikram Gokhle.
We have used all our strength and force to get justice for all, says CINTAA president
I am trying my best to use my connections. There has never been a case where someone has complained to CINTAA and we haven't taken an action. We have used all our strength and force to get justice for all, says Vikram Gokhle.
We are now the new CINTAA body, says Vikram Gokhle
We are now the new CINTAA body. And I am glad that Sushant Singh has given you all the details, says CINTAA president Vikram Gokhle.
CINTAA to solve royalty issue
We will look at royalty issue also. When it can happen all around the world, then why not here. It is because of the contributions that people make that we have good content. And this contributions need to be recognised and appreciated, says Sushant Singh.
CINTAA to protect web platform artistes
We are now also working on rights for everyone working for web platforms also. These actors and technicians are working day and night. These people have the right to work policies too, says Sushant Singh.
CINTAA in New Delhi
We have an international alliance, and this will help regulate a lot of things. We are now in Delhi also. So we will take care of issues from there too, says Sushant Singh.
Let us take action, says Sushant Singh
Let us take action so we can face our daughters, wives, mothers without hesitation. We might fail, but taking action is of utmost importance, says Sushant Singh.
CINTAA needs the young brigade
We have high hopes form the young brigade because they understand sexual harassment properly. They are the face of the desired change. They need to take up the responsibility and join us, says Sushant Singh.
Sushant Singh promises reforms
We have acts where our rights are written down clearly. It is like a corporate world now. Working hours, payment regulations and every thing like that will be taken care of, says Sushant Singh.
Sushant Singh on fire safety
We are also taking fire fighting actions seriously. People die on sets only because there is no awareness and firefighting training, says Sushant Singh.
Sushant Singh on child actors
They work for such long hours. When do they go to school? We need to wake up and do a balancing act. We should make kids comfortable, says Sushant Singh.
Sushant Singh on CINTAA
CINTAA doesn't intend to be small voices anymore, says Sushant Singh.
Artistes are scared to speak, says Sushant Singh
Artistes are scared to speak against dismal working conditions because they are then blacklisted by production houses. Only God knows what happens to those who complain against sexual harassment at workplace, says Sushant Singh.
CCTV cameras on sets
There should be CCTV cameras on film sets, says Sushant Singh.
Casting directors under the scanner
I have an appeal to the industry. Producers will have to come together with us and check who are the right casting directors. The ones who are pimps needed to be weeded out, says Sushant Singh.
We will also have open-mic sessions where artistes can come and share their harassment stories, says Sushant Singh.
Let’s not shame survivors, says Sushant Singh
The most important thing is to listen to these survivors. Finally, we have a space where we are listening to people. So, let’s not shame survivors. Let's keep the movement alive, says Sushant Singh.
Counselling sessions for survivors
There will be counselling sessions where survivors can come and share their stories. Their names will be kept anonymous. There will be experts, says Sushant Singh.
Veteran actresses to join committee?
We have sent mails to veteran actresses to join this committee, and hope for their positive response, says Sushant Singh.
CINTAA forms committees to address sexual harassment cases
We have tied up with POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harasament at Work), says Sushant Singh.
Our member Swara Bhaskar has approached us. Her thoughts on this match with ours. There are two committees that CINTAA has set up:
1. Sexual harassment committee which will have Raveena Tandon, Amol Gupte, Journalist Bharti Dubey and Renuka Shahane.
2. Sub-committee (a new one): This will have Swara Bhaskar and people who are outside the CINTAA.
More female actors come out against Alok Nath
After Vinta Nanda, a lot of female CINTAA members have come forward against Alok Nath. They told us that they had unpleasant experiences with him. We haven't decided our action against it yet, says Sushant Singh.
Sushant Singh on Alok Nath
Alok Nathji has replied to our show cause notice and requested our cooperation. He has requested us to not expel him until law decides the course, says Sushant Singh.
Many were upset with CINTAA's stand
There were a lot of senior people in the industry who were upset with CINTAA's stand. People told us not to bring out skeletons from the closet. But we had to because it is important, says Sushant Singh.
'We should name and shame abusers'
We should name and shame these abusers. It is important, says Sushant Singh.