Three years after allegations of sexual assault were levelled against Vikas Bahl, Phantom Films, the production house he co-owned with Madhu Mantena, Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap, has been dissolved.
Taking to Twitter, Kashyap wrote, “Phantom was a dream, a glorious one and all dreams come to an end . We did our best and we succeeded and we failed.”
Phantom was a dream, a glorious one and all dreams come to an end . We did our best and we succeeded and we failed. But i know for sure we will come out of this stronger, wiser and will continue to pursue our dreams our own individual ways. We wish each other the best.
— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) October 5, 2018
Motwane’s tweet called it the ‘craziest, greatest journey and the most wonderful partnership of his life’.
— Vikramaditya Motwane (@VikramMotwane) October 5, 2018
Mantena too put out a statement:
— Madhu Mantena (@MadhuMantena) October 5, 2018
None of them, however, chose to issue a clarification about the reason, till an article appeared on Huff Post detailing how the survivor had repeatedly seeked an apology from Bahl regarding his behaviour, and how Phantom had repeatedly failed her. As per this tweet from Aman Sethi, the Editor-in-Chief at HuffPost, Phantom was dissolved three days after the production company was asked to answer questions about the way the sexual assault allegations had been mishandled.
Three days ago, @HuffPostIndia confronted @FuhSePhantom with the results of a four month investigation. Last night Phantom’s founders said they were going their separate ways. Here’s the story. #TimesUphttps://t.co/isrFu8h9YD
— Aman Sethi (@Amannama) October 6, 2018
No action was taken against Bahl from 2015 to 2018, despite all founding members of Phantom being made aware of the allegations against him.
Bahl, was accused of allegedly masturbating on a former Phantom employee after a company party in Goa in 2015. He denied the charges, telling the Mumbai Mirror in 2017 that he felt ‘victimised by it’ :
“I have heard about this particular lady you are speaking about and the Goa incident. She is not my employee. Yes, I am friends with her, we have worked together and there is a production job we have done together… but if she is feeling like this I would like to sit across a table from her and talk to her. I want to ask her if I have crossed a line, whether I have done anything to hurt her and if she feels that way I would like to apologise for it. I have known her for long. For two-and-half years she has never made me feel as if she is uncomfortable (around me). I have worked very hard to be the person I have become. I do feel a little victimised but I don’t know what to do about that.”
Bahl in the meantime still has his big budget ambitious film, Super 30, starring Hrithik Roshan to look forward to next year.