More and more men in the Indian media and entertainment industries continue to be named as alleged sexual offenders and predators in India’s #MeToo movement. One of the recent names, which came out, much to the shock of many, was that of actor Alok Nath, the actor known for his on-screen ‘sanskaari’ image in Indian television and films.
Vinta Nanda, a veteran writer-producer of the avant-garde 1990s show Tara, outed Alok in a heartwrenching Facebook post on Monday night, alleging that he had sexually assaulted her 19 years ago. Now, Alok Nath has responded to Vinta’s allegations in a manner that can be described as dismissive at best.
Alok spoke to a news channel, where he said he was neither accepting nor agreeing with Vinta’s allegations. “It (rape) must have happened, but someone else would have done it. Well, I do not want to talk much about it As for the matter, if it has come out, it will be stretched,” he said.
Alok also reportedly attempted to undermine the #MeToo movement. Acknowledging that several incidents have come out in the open with the movement, he said the world was only getting to hear women’s side of the story “because they are considered weak.”
The actor then went on to take credit for Vinta’s success in her career. Claiming that she was a good friend at one point, Alok added that “in a way” he was responsible for making Vinta who she is today.
Displaying his ignorance about gender dynamics further, Alok stated that it was no use reacting to allegations because, in today’s time, only women’s stories are taken into consideration. “In such a situation, it would be wrong to say anything,” he said.
Vinta, in her account, describes how her drinks were allegedly spiked at a party at Alok’s house almost a decade ago. She left the party around 2 am.
“I started to walk home on the empty streets... Midway I was accosted by this man who was driving his own car and he asked me to sit in it and said he would drop me home. I trusted him and sat in his car. I have faint memory after that. I can remember more liquor being poured into my mouth and I remember being violated endlessly. When I woke up the next afternoon, I was in pain. I hadn't just been raped, I was taken to my own house and had been brutalised. I couldn't get up for my bed. I told some of my friends but everybody advised me to forget about it and move on."
Later, she got a job to write and direct a series for Plus Channel, and again her paths crossed with Alok.
“The man found his way through the casting route and became one of the lead actors on the show. He created an environment in which I was made to feel threatened, so I asked the producers to release me from directing the series because I didn't want to be around where he was. I continued to write the show,” she wrote.
The “most difficult part” and the “main reason” why Nanda took so long to come out with the truth was because while she was working on the new series, she says, “He asked me to come to his house again and I went to allow him to violate me. I needed the job and didn't want to leave it as I needed the money. It was after this that I quit.”
Read her full post here.
(With IANS inputs)