Actor Alok Nath has dismissed rape allegations levelled against him by Tara writer-producer Vinta Nanda, calling them absurd. The actor spoken to news channel ABP and said, “Neither am I denying this nor do I would agree with it. It (rape) must have happened, but someone else would have done it. Well, I do not want to talk much about it or it will be stretched.” He said his public image is of no concern to him for “kuch to log kahenge”.
Nanda has accused Nath – known for his “sanskaari” on-screen image – of sexually violating her almost two decades ago. “I have waited for this moment to come for 19 years,” she wrote in a long, heart-wrenching Facebook post, referring to the “predator in question” as “the actor par excellence who is known as the most ‘sanskaari’ (cultured) person in the film and television industry”. She later confirmed to IANS that she was referring to Nath.
Nath, in his reaction, was dismissive and patronizing. “At one time she used to be such a good friend… today she said such a big thing. In a way, it was me who made her what she is,” he told the channel, adding, “It is useless to react on the allegations as in today’s world only what a woman says will be considered. In such a situation, it would be wrong to say anything.”
Talking about his image and the effect these allegations will have on it, he said, “What do I have to do with people? People will say anything to spoil the image. Leave my image, whatever has been said, it is absurd.”
CINTAA general secretary Sushant Singh has said a show-cause notice will be sent to Alok. He urged Nanda to file a complaint against “this vile creature”, and added: “We extend you full support”.
It is the escalating voices against sexual harassment across the world as part of the #MeToo wave that gave Nanda the courage to pen down the experiences which had left her “shattered”.
“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,” Nanda wrote, adding that he even harassed the show’s lead actress who was not interested in him.
Sharing the “worst” that happened, Nanda recounted the incidents that followed after she left a party at Alok’s house at 2 am. She says her drinks were spiked. “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 wrote.
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.”
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.”
Nanda has urged people “who have suffered at the hands of predators, to come out and say it aloud”.
“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.”