Over the last few weeks, Bollywood has been pilloried for nepotism and alleged drug use, but now what might be the most serious problem in the embattled industry is also coming to the fore.
Actress Payal Ghosh has levelled stunning accusations of sexual harassment against filmmaker Anurag Kashyap. “Anurag Kashyap has forced himself on me and extremely badly,” she tweeted. “Narendra Modi ji, kindly take action and let the country see the demon behind this creative guy. I am aware that it can harm me and my security is at risk. Pls help!” she added.
Payal Ghosh then furnished the details of the encounter in a video. ‘I went to meet him, and the next day when he took me to the other room, he opened his zip and tried to force his c**k (penis) inside my vagina by opening my Salwar Kameez. He said it was okay and all the actresses who worked with him such as Huma Qureshi, Richa Chadha, Mahi Gil, they are just a call away,’ she said. Anurag Kashyap allegedly told her, ‘Whenever I call them, they come running and suck my c**k (penis)”.
Payal Ghosh says that she told Anurag Kashyap that she wasn’t mentally or emotionally prepared for acquiescing with his wishes, and managed to slide out of the situation. She says that until the moment she could manage to put a stop to it, ‘everything happened’. Anurag Kashyap apparently told her that physical relationships are very normal in Bollywood.
Payal Ghosh has acted in south Indian movies including Therodum Veedhiyile, Oosaravelli and Prayanam. She appears to have approached Kashyap for a chance to work with the big-name director. This is the exact sort of situation in which encounters like the ones she detailed are likely to happen — the power differential between directors and new actors often leads to men misusing their positions of influence.
Anurag Kashyap, though, has been vocal about his supposed stand on women empowerment. In the recent Rhea Chakravorty controversy, he’d shared a post on Instagram in which he’d urged people to “smash patriarchy”. “When I see him bearing the flag of female liberation, talking about women and patriarchy, I understand what a f*cking hypocrite he is,” Payal Ghosh said.