The #MeToo movement, which started gaining momentum in October 2018, took the country by storm when it unveiled some of the biggest names of Bollywood industry who had been accused of sexual harassment. Hence, when we heard that a movie on #MeToo was on the roll, we had already begun looking forward to it. But it seems like irony just killed itself when news regarding the popular actor, Alok Nath being cast as a judge in this film was officially confirmed.
Titled #MainBhi (Me Too) the film is directed by Nasir Khan and deals with the issues of child molestation and sexual abuse. It features Alok as a judge who "takes a strong stand against sexual harassment", a publication said. Confirming the news, the 62-year-old actor told them, "I'm not doing any films at the moment. This was something I shot for a while ago. Is there a problem? You sound sad that I'm doing a film. It's a puny role for poor producers, let it release."
Ironically, this comes shortly after TV-writer/director Vinta Nanda called him out during the #MeToo movement last October, alleging that Alok raped her twice about 20 years ago while shooting for their 1990s television show Tara. After she made her ordeal public and filed a criminal case against Alok, several other actresses including Himani Shivpuri, Deepika Amin and Sandhya Mridul accused him of misbehaving with them, often under the influence of alcohol.
Although this once-respected father-figure of Indian television denied all the accusations, his mirage of a "sanskaari" patriarch faded quite quickly. Soon, Cine and TV Artistes Association (CINTAA) expelled Alok in November 2018 on his failure to appear at its meeting but his wife Ashu sued Vinta Nanda and got him an anticipatory bail by a Mumbai sessions court.
#MainBhi also features actors like Khalid Siddiqui, Shawar Ali, Imran Khan, Sonali Raut, Mukesh Khanna and Shahbaz Khan wherein Khanna and Khan will play the role of lawyers. According to Siddiqui, who has a lead role in the project, Alok also gives a speech at the end of the film denouncing sexual harassment.
While we're struggling to digest the irony of this, we can't help but wonder - why cast an actor in a sensitive film about crimes which he, himself was accused of? Bollywood, you really disappoint me sometimes.
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