August 12 is celebrated as World Elephant Day to honour these gentle giants, to spread awareness about their preservation and protection across the world.
Adding to the ongoing India’s own #MeToo movement, in which women are sharing incident of sexual misconduct, veteran writer-producer Vinta Nanda has accused actor Alok Nath – known for his “sanskaari” image on screen – of raping her almost two decades ago.
The writer-producer of the avant-garde 1990s’ show ‘Tara’ took to social networking site Facebook to narrate her ordeal. In the Facebook post, where she mentioned that she was sexually violated by the star TV actor of the 90s, she refrained from naming him. However, given the references about the show, people drew the parallels and in no time the comment section of the post was flooded with people mentioning Alok Nath as the accused.
Later, confirming the same to IANS via SMS, Nanda said: “It is Alok Nath. I thought saying ‘sanskaari’ would do the needful.”
Reacting to Nanda’s allegations, Cine And TV Artistes’ Association or CINTAA official and actor Sushant Singh tweeted that Nath would be sent a show cause notice asking him to explain why he should not immediately be expelled from the film body.
He has also advised Nanda to file a formal complaint as he promised full support.
“Dear @vintananda I am so so sorry. As @CintaaOfficial a show-cause Notice will be sent to @aloknath first thing in the mrng, why he shudnt b expld. Unfortunately we’ve to follow the due process. I urge u to file a complaint against this vile creature, we extend u full support,” Sushant Singh’s tweeted.
Dear @vintananda I am so so sorry. As @CintaaOfficial a show-cause Notice will be sent to @aloknath first thing in the mrng, why he shudnt b expld. Unfortunately we’ve to follow the due process. I urge u to file a complaint against this vile creature, we extend u full support.
— sushant singh (@sushant_says) October 8, 2018
Nanda, who spoke about the sexual misconduct almost after two decades, wrote, “I have waited for this moment to come for 19 years. He was an alcoholic, shameless and obnoxious but he was also the television star of that decade, so not only was he forgiven for all his bad behaviour, many of the guys would also egg him on to be his worst.”
In the heart-wrenching post, Nanda added that he even harassed the show’s lead actress who was not interested in him.
The lead actress of the show was Navneet Nishan. In an interview, which Navneet had given in the year 1994, the lead actress of the show ‘Tara’ had sued Alok Nath for Rs. 1 crore for allegedly calling her a drug user in an interview to Movie magazine. She called him an ‘alcoholic fool’ as she addressed the matter.
Asserting that the ‘drug user’ allegations against her by Alok Nath are absolutely fabricated, she had said, “It’s taken me 8 years to get where I am and I don’t want some alcoholic fool to mess it up for me.”
Other than trying to assault the lead actress, Alok allegedly raped Nanda.
In the Facebook post, Nanda had recounted the incidents that followed after she left a party at Alok’s house at 2 a.m. She says her drinks were mixed.
“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.”
She explained how she later got a job to write and direct a series for Plus Channel, but again she had to cross her paths 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.”
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 this 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.”
Urging people “who have suffered at the hands of predators, to come out and say it aloud” Nanda wrote, “Don’t hold yourselves back. This is a moment for change, so your silence will only hold barriers to its evolution. Speak out. Shout out from the top of the roof.”
Alok Nath has not made any statement regarding the allegations yet. Alok is known for his roles as a stereotypical Indian father, personifying religious traditions and moral values in films and TV shows.