Alok Nath in Hum Saath-Saath Hain. (Image courtesy: YouTube)
Actor Alok Nath today filed a defamation case against writer-producer Vinta Nanda, who accused him of raping her almost two decades ago. On Monday, Ms Nanda shared an account of being raped and violated by the actor in a brave Facebook post.
Her post opened more allegations of sexual misconduct against the Hum Saath Saath Hai actor. Two other women have also come forward with their alleged #MeToo experiences with Mr Nath – actress Sandhya Mridul and a woman who worked on the crew of 1998 film.
Speaking anonymously, the woman alleges that Mr Nath stripped in front of her on the set of Hum Saath Saath Hai, on which she was a crew member and in which he played the ‘sanskaari bapuji‘ character on which he built his reputation as an actor.
“We were shooting for a night scene and I had taken a change of costumes to him. Once I handed him the clothes, he started stripping in front of me. I was taken aback, and tried to make my way out of the room as soon as possible. When I tried to run out, he grabbed my hand and manhandled me. I remember yanking my hand out of his grip and rushing out of the room,” the woman recounted to mid-day.
She also said that she was “shell-shocked” after the incident and decided against reporting Alok Nath to director-producer Sooraj Barjatya because, “He was extremely close to the Barjatyas, and Sooraj sir would have taken it badly.”
Actress Himani Shivpuri, who has worked with Alok Nath in several films and in television, revealed that the industry has always been aware of the veteran actor’s alcohol-fuelled split personality.
“Whenever we shot in daytime, he would be mild and normal but after having liquor he used to be this Jekyll and Hyde person. He used to change completely. I heard from actresses that they had a tough time working with him,” recounted Ms Shivpuri, who shared screen-space with Mr Nath in films such as Hum Saath Saath Hai, Pardes and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and also in TV show Ghar Ek Sapnaa.
The actor’s lawyer has said the allegations were an attempt to defame him. “I believe that this all has been done only to defame him and nothing beyond that.”
On Monday night, Vinta Nanda shared her harrowing account of being raped and violated by the actor. She, however, did not name him, but identified him as the ‘sanskaari’ actor who played the male lead on her show Tara. Two days later – on Wednesday – actress Sandhya Mridul revealed her own story of allegedly being preyed upon on a set by a drunken Alok Nath. Ms Mridul alleged that during an outdoor shoot, Mr Nath tried to enter her room forcibly, in an inebriated condition, and lunged at her screaming, “I want you… you are mine.” When the team returned to Mumbai, she heard that Mr Nath spread false stories about her ‘acting difficult’ on the sets.
The #MeToo movement has taken the film industry by storm after Ms Dutta revived a decade-old controversy with sexual harrasment allegations against Nana Patekar two weeks ago.
Other prominent celebrities who have been implicated in #MeToo accounts include actor Alok Nath, filmmaker Vikas Bahl, singer Kailash Kher and poet-lyricist Vairamuthu, among others.