Vikas Bahl, one of the popular filmmakers in Hindi cinema today, has been accused of molestation by his own employee. Vikas, who owns Phantom Films along with Madhu Mantena, Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane has however steered clear from the accusations citing that he never did anything to ‘hurt’ anybody.
As per a report published in Mumbai Mirror, a young woman working at Phantom Films has alleged that Vikas Bahl, the director of Kangana Ranaut starrer Queen had molested her during a trip to Goa a few months back. While Vikas himself and his partner Madhu had claimed the news to be false, another stakeholder, on the condition of anonymity has revealed that a strict action is going will be taken against Vikas. In fact, in his statement to the leading daily, the person has also claimed that there are multiple victims of molestation and Vikas had already been asked to step down from his position in March itself. The stakeholder has also said that a formal Vishakha committee was also set up to probe the matter and a ‘hard stand’ has been taken against the Shaandaar director.
Vikas, however, has a different story to tell. As mentioned in the report, the producer has refused that any investigation was done in the matter. In fact, he said that the HR also didn’t receive any complaint nor was any Vishakha committee set up. Talking about the woman in question, he said:
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-a 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.
Talking about his association with Phantom, Vikas took the example of popular US sitcom, FRIENDS and elaborated:
Phantom Films is like my family. I gave up a huge job to start this company. My shares in Phantom are equal to the others. We are equal partners and best friends. If you have followed (the US sitcom) FRIENDS, you will know that after the first season of the show Ross had become the most popular guy and the makers of the show hiked his fee three times over. He went and told the producers if you are doing it for me you have to do it for the others too. And that was our learning. We will always be equal partners. It doesn’t matter whose movie does well and whose doesn’t. We will always be equal partners.