Days after actor Shilpa Shinde filed a FIR against Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai producer Sanjay Kohli alleging harassment, another TV star Sameeksha Singh, who collaborated with Sanjay and his wife Binaifer on a daily soap, has revealed that she also went through a torturous time working with the couple. In an interview to indianexpress.com, Sameeksha said that she can relate to Shilpa’s “pain” and is glad that someone has finally spoken against the producers.
“When I read about Shilpa’s case, I could totally feel her pain. She is innocent. I underwent a similar experience while working on my show Zaara, so I know she is speaking the truth. In my case, I won’t blame Sanjay harassed me but yes he used to flirt. Actually, his wife used to act difficult but Sanjay used to be calm, so I thought he was a pacifier of sorts. And I think even Shilpa felt the same initially but we didn’t realise his intentions. When someone flirts, you are still able to deal with it. I deal with that on a daily basis. You just ignore. But in Shilpa’s case, his behaviour was intolerable,” Sameeksha said.
Also read | EXCLUSIVE Before I could speak about sexual harassment, I was thrown out of Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hai: Shilpa Shinde
The actor also revealed that misconduct and unprofessional behaviour was a norm on the sets of Zaara (2006-2008). From Binaifer to the show’s director, nobody was cooperative. “They would shoot my close-ups in advance and then wouldn’t call me to shoot. As a result, in the scenes, my expressions used to be so different from what they require because I was made to shoot alone. When I complained to the channel (&TV), it was least bothered. When producers are not bothered about their product, why would channel worry? I used to cry while working on the show. I thought the whole television industry is like this, unprofessional.”
Talking about the show’s director, Pawan Sahu, Sameeksha said that he used to abuse actors, including child artistes. “He used to tell me, ‘Humare Bihar mei aurtoen ko paon ki jooti maana jaata hai.’ He knew he had tortured me so much, hence one day he told the crew, ‘If Sameeksha ever meets me outside the set, on the road, she will kill me.’ He used to call us out using expletives. What hurt me the most was when he abused children. Once a girl came crying to us, we went to Binaifer and she paid no heed.”
Sameeksha, who has reached out to Shilpa, said she believes that the actor was indeed forced to leave the show. “Why would Shilpa leave a show, which gave her so much fame. She was forced to quit, she cannot manipulate. Binaifer is all sweet talk, I know her very well. She didn’t pay me my dues but continues to be sweet to me. She used to tell me the channel cut the cost because the show didn’t do well. On our sets as well, there used to be politics every day, our phones would get lost and then Binaifer would tell us to check in our co-actors’ bag. She would make us fight. The men, surprisingly, were treated very well but the female actors got a bad treatment.”