Four women on Saturday accused casting directors Mukesh Chhabra and Vicky Sidana of sexual harassment, according to a Mid-day report. While one woman had reportedly met Chhabra for the casting of a film in 2017, the second woman left Mumbai after the alleged harassment took place.
Chhabra denied the allegations and said, “It has been years of hard work and I have been around in the industry. It is unfortunate that people are resorting to name calling and making wild allegations. Hard work and sweat cannot be erased by making false accusations. I deny any such incident took place. If anyone is indulging in rumour mongering and mischievous slandering, I will take every possible legal action to protect my reputation.”
An aspiring actress alleged that Vicky Sidana called her to his house and tried to harass her. Sidana also denied claims of harassment and told Mid-day that actors “harbour ill feelings towards us and this is an attempt to malign me.”
“I have never called anyone home. If I had, my wife would have been there. In any case, if someone is not naming themselves, how do I prove myself innocent? One has to understand, that as casting agents, we suffer the wrath of those we don’t cast. They harbour ill feelings towards us and this is an attempt to malign me. I have been working since nine years and have a certain reputation. Casting directors are harassed by budding actors; they send objectionable pictures and messages,” Sidana said.
The #MeToo movement has been gathering momentum in India ever since actor Tanushree Dutta alleged that actor Nana Patekar sexually harassed her on the sets of the 2008 film Horn Ok Pleassss. Since then, many popular figures from the Indian film fraternity have been accused of sexual misconduct and harassment. Vikas Bahl, Sajid Khan, Varun Grover, Alok Nath, Rajat Kapoor are among the few whose names have cropped up for behaving inappropriately with women.