Queen director Vikas Bahl, who has been accused of sexual harassment by a former employee of Phantom Films, has now sent legal notices to filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane. Bahl has accused them of maligning his image by giving statements against him on social media. In the notices, he has asked for an “unconditional apology and to withdraw messages from social media”.
Bahl’s lawyers have accused the Manmarziyaan director Kashyap of bribing another employee at Phantom Films to put similar allegations on Bahl. “This makes us wonder whether the alleged incident of sexual assault also has any authenticity, given that the alleged victim was, in fact, working as your own employee,” Bahl’s lawyer said in the notice.
Further, in the notices received by Motwane and Kashyap, they have been accused of reacting without knowing the truth. Tagging them as ‘opportunists’, the legal notices read, “You are neither a witness nor the alleged victim, but instead an opportunist seeking to derive benefit based on unsubstantiated information. The alleged incident has not been established in any court of law and that you have exploited the media to propagate your own personal vendetta.”
Bahl has also alleged that the other two partners of Phantom Films are trying to put the onus of the production house’s dissolution on him. “However, putting the blame of the production house shutting down solely on Bahl is in bad taste,” says the notice. Also, Kashyap who was approached by the victim in 2015, has been alleged to remain silent despite knowing it all.
Motwane is also said to have initially believed there was no sexual harassment and showed his conversation with the alleged victim to Bahl. “This was to show that no sexual harassment incident had taken place. Yet, Motwane, after the victim outed him went ahead and issued statements against Bahl,” the notice reads.
Meanwhile, Anurag Kashyap has stepped down as the board member of MAMI. On Wednesday morning, the filmmaker tweeted, “In the light of the current events, I have decided to step back from my duties as a board member from MAMI until the shadow of doubt of our alleged complicitness in silence and not doing anything about it, is cleared.”