Following several cases of sexual harassment that have emerged within the film industry, three major film associations on Wednesday announced separate decisions to address the issue by constituting committees, among other measures.
The Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), the umbrella body for 23 film artiste associations with more than 5 lakh members across all departments, said it will form a special committee to look into cases of sexual misconduct. “We have opened our gates to females working in the film and TV industries to come and register their complaints… Our legal team is there to guide, support them,” it stated in a release. The complainant’s identity will be protected, it added.
The Producers Guild of India decided to conduct workshops “with support of professional agencies, to guide our members in how to implement robust processes and best practices to deal with sexual harassment at their workplaces”, according to a media release. The committee comprises 12 members, including filmmakers Kiran Rao, Ekta Kapoor and Siddharth Roy Kapur. Actor Aamir Khan was among those who attended the meet.
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Cine and TV Artists’ Association (CINTAA), which issued showcause notice to actor Alok Nath following rape allegations levelled by writer Vinta Nanda, decided to initiate suo motu notice of all allegations in “serious cases” such as Nanda’s. The association also decided to form a “high-powered” committee based on Vishaka guidelines to address cases of sexual harassment in future.
FWICE’s chief adviser Ashoke Pandit told The Indian Express that the committee will follow “government-sanctioned Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace guidelines”. Pandit also said there is a need to ensure that this provision for filing complaint is not misused. “For this, the committee will call the accused for a meeting and hear them out as well. If we find the complaint is valid, we will dismiss them (accused) from the association and issue a call for boycott… But if we find out that the complaint was an act of malice, we will take action against the complainant,” he said. Pandit said FWICE has sent notices to Alok Nath and filmmaker Vikas Bahl, accused of sexual assault and harassment by multiple women.
CINTAA’s spokesperson and general secretary Sushant Singh said the association Wednesday also met Vinta Nanda, who has decided to file an official complaint with them against Nath. Singh said CINTAA has reached out to Tanushree Dutta, who had brought harassment charges against actor Nana Patekar and filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, offering to reopen her case.