Me Too: Now, actor Sandhya Mridul accuses Alok Nath of sexual harassment

Sandhya Mridul described how Alok Nath, known for his ‘sanskaari’ roles, would get drunk on set and harass her night after night.
Me Too: Now, actor Sandhya Mridul accuses Alok Nath of sexual harassment
Me Too: Now, actor Sandhya Mridul accuses Alok Nath of sexual harassment
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Shortly after writer-producer Vinta Nanda accused actor Alok Nath of sexual assault, another woman from the industry has come forward with her own account against the actor who is known for his ‘sanskaari’ image on Indian television and cinema.

Actor Sandhya Mridul tweeted on Wednesday morning about how Alok allegedly sexually harassed her when they were shooting for a telefilm for Zee in Kodaikanal. The Angry Indian Goddesses actor described how, though there was no physical assault, Alok Nath’s behaviour and harassment affected her health and career.

The telefilm was being shot at the beginning of her career. Alok Nath was playing her father and the late actor Reema Lagoo, her mother. Alok Nath, Sandhya said, seemed very impressed with her and called her “god’s own child”. She was over the moon as she was a fan of this “wonderful babuji”, she wrote in her post.

The first instance happened when after an early pack up, Alok Nath got drunk at a cast dinner. “[He] started insisting that I sit with him and I belonged to him and other stuff that I don’t clearly remember but it made me very nervous and uncomfortable. My co-star realised what was happening and got me out of there,” Sandhya alleged.

Sandhya went back to the hotel without having dinner. That night, Alok Nath knocked on her  hotel room door. When she opened it and saw him there, drunk, she tried shutting the door. “But he pushed it and lunged at me, I stepped aside and he went flying past me into the room .. I fell backwards towards the bathroom door he lunged at me again screaming I want you you’re mine … I dodged again he went into the bathroom and I think I latched the loo door and ran out of my room down the corridor into the lobby. Fortunately, my DoP was there making a call from the reception ..(sic)” she narrated.

The director of photography accompanied her to her room. In a traumatic sequence of events, Alok refused to leave Sandhya’s room. “[He] kept screaming shouting threatening abusing trying to grab me.. but at some point we managed to make him leave.”

Sandhya said that on the shoot what was to begin in a few hours, she had a few scenes with “babuji” and in one she had to sit on his lap and cry. “I still feel nauseous when I think of it (sic),” she said.

Sandhya was so scared that she had the hairdresser sleep in her room permanently. The stress of it all made her fall sick. All this while, Alok allegedly continued to traumatise Sandhya with calls and knocks.

“One day when he landed up at the door and cried and begged to be allowed in to so as to me to apologise.. I couldn't take it anymore I told her (the hairdresser) to accompany him in,” Sandhya recounts. Alok apparently pulled a chair next to her bed and cried. He said that he was an alcoholic and he had “destroyed everything” including his family and marriage. He said Sandhya was like his daughter and that he had learnt his lesson. He assured her he would go to therapy and try to change.

“I finally broke my silence I screamed shouted cried and it was done. I believed him. I had to. He left. He got away. I don't know how I shot with him for the remaining days and weeks,” Sandhya wrote.

Though Sandhya said her co-actors, the DoP and Reema protected her, Alok’s harassment had taken its toll on her. “A very disillusioned, disgraced & unsure me returned home. He went on to return to Bombay and tell people I was difficult and arrogant. All apologies forgotten. He was a popular man I was a newbie. He laid the foundation others like him built on,” Sandhya alleges.

Sandhya further writes that while she forgave him for her own sanity, she would never forgive him for what he did to Vinta. She also extended her support to Tanushree, who accused Nana Patekar of sexually harassing her on the sets of Horn Ok Pleassss in 2008.

Read Sandhya’s account here.

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