After a former female employee of erstwhile company Phantom Films reiterated her allegations of sexual harassment against Bollywood filmmaker Vikas Bahl, Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA) on Tuesday issued a show-cause notice to the filmmaker. The IFTDA has asked the director to respond to the notice in a week’s time, failing which he will be expelled from the organisation.
“We are specifically disturbed and enraged due to the alleged charges against IFTDA’s member director Vikas Bahl, confirmed and endorsed by his own partners of Phantom Films namely Anurag Kashyap, Madhu Mantena, Vikramaditya Motwane, and Neeraj Ghaywan. In the light of the events, IFTDA has taken a stern stand against Vikas Bahl by issuing a show cause notice and asked him to respond within one week’s time failing which his membership will be terminated,” IFTDA’s statement read.
IFTDA president Ashoke Pandit told indianexpress.com, “We have taken this situation very seriously. We have also set up a Women’s Grievances Redressal Cell. It is a three-member all women committee. It will be headed by celebrated woman director Ms. Swapna Waghmare Joshi. We will be addressing all the cases individually. We are going to work on the awareness of this issue, have seminars and encourage women to come out and feel safe in their workspace in our industry.”
The three-member all women committee will be headed by TV and film director Swapna Waghmare as Chairperson, with Bhavna Talvar as convenor and Priyanka Ghatak as co-convenor.
“Regarding Vikas Bahl, we have sent him a show-cause notice, and have given him one-week notice to tell us his side of the story. We need an explanation from him and an answer to the allegations leveled against him by his own company partners. Why should we not suspend him? If he fails to answer us within a week’s time, we will terminate his membership from IFTDA, which means he will be out of the federation. There are 23 crafts in the federation, and we’ll direct each craft to not work with him, on any of the projects under him. Saying this, we can only act on the members of our organisation,” Ashoke Pandit added.
Speaking about Tanushree Dutta’s allegations against Nana Patekar, Pandit said, “We’ll go case by case. We know Rakesh Sarang and Nana Patekar. Tomorrow if Rakesh Sarang comes and tells us that he is being unnecessarily targeted, since he is our member, then we’ll discuss the issue in depth with him and then work on the future action.”