With the release of Ajay Devgn, Tabu and Rakul Preet Singh’s ‘De De Pyaar De’ trailer early this month, the film got into the controversy over featuring Alok Nath in it who plays Ajay’s father. Alok Nath has been accused of raping writer Vinta Nanda who gave a strong push to #MeToo movement in India last year. Both Vinta Nanda and Tanushree Dutta were disappointed with Ajay Devgn and slammed the actor-producer over casting the ‘Tara’ actor in his film, in the past two days.
Tanushree used harsh words against Ajay calling him morally bankrupt and a spineless hypocrite.
“Tinsel town is full of liars, show-offs and spineless hypocrites. And it seems by a large public consensus that the sign post is pointing currently at Ajay Devgn,” Tanushree, who had sparked India’s #MeToo movement, said in a statement.
“During the #MeToo movement in India, the actor had tweeted and sworn never to work with those accused and now in a surprising and convenient turn of events is working with rape and harrasment accused Alok Nath and supporting him to make a comeback to Bollywood,” she added.
Tanushree said it was possible for the “De De Pyaar De” team to re-shoot Alok’s scenes once the allegations against him were made public by writer-director Vinta Nanda.
“Nobody even knew before the posters and trailers that Alok Nath is in the film, so if Ajay and the makers wanted they could have just quietly replaced him and re-shot his portions (which is barely 10-15 days for character actors in Bollywood), and given Vinta Nanda the respect she deserves as well as several other women who were troubled by this guy, but no.”
Vinta Nanda had last year accused Alok Nath of allegedly raping her nearly 19 years ago when they worked together which he denied. This had emerged after the #MeToo movement gained momentum in India when Tanushree had accused veteran actor Nana Patekar of sexual harassment on the sets of “Horn OK Pleassss” in 2008.
Vinta in reaction to Alok Nath’s casting in Ajay Devgn’s ‘DDPD’, told Mid Day – “I don’t expect anything from Ajay Devgn. I don’t think he is in any position to take a stand. The money riding on the project is the only dharma for them”.
She further added – “When it comes to the box office, nobody [in the industry] follows any other religion. There is no right and wrong. Their politics and ideologies go for a toss. Their reluctance to take action is the giveaway [of their intentions]”.
#MeToo: Vinta Nanda REVEALS how Alok Nath’s wife Ashu REACTED when told about the Rape!
Now Ajay Devgn has clarified his stand by issuing a statement addressing the matter and hiring of Alok Nath in his film.
The official statement by the actor Ajay Devgn reads:
“When the entire #MeToo Movement happened, I along with many of my film industry colleagues categorically expressed that I respect every single woman at the work place and I would not stand for any unfairness or atrocity against them. Nothing about my stand has changed.”
“Coming to the question of having worked with Mr Alok Nath in my upcoming film De De Pyar De, here I must put certain things in perspective.”
“This film was supposed to be an October 2018 release. The shoot of the film got over by last September. The portions with Mr. Alok Nath were canned by August in Manali. The said portions were shot over 40 days across various sets and an outdoor location with a combination of over 10 actors. By the time the allegations came out (in October 2018) the actors in the film including me had already started work on other films. It would be near impossible to get all the dates and combinations of the several actors in the film and attempt a re-shoot with some other actor replacing Mr Nath. It would also have been a huge monetary loss for the producers. Everyone is aware that film-making is a collaborative process. The decision to replace Mr Alok Nath could never have been mine alone. In this case, I would have to go with the joint-decision of the entire unit. Not to forget, I could not have brought the entire combination of actors back or put up sets again for a 40-day re-shoot because this would mean doubling the budget, which again wasn’t my call to make. It would have to be the call of the makers. Had circumstances played out even slightly differently, I would have pushed for a different combination of actors. Unfortunately, this was not to be.”
“I reiterate I am extremely sensitive to the #MeToo movement. But when circumstances are beyond me, I don’t see why an attempt is being made to `single’ me out as being insensitive. This is untrue.”
During the trailer launch of their film on 2nd April, when producer Luv Ranjan was asked to comment on the same, Ajay had intervened saying, “This is not the right place to talk about it.”
“And jinki aap baat kar rahe hai woh film uske pehle complete hui (the film was completed before the allegations surfaced against the concerned person)“
#MeToo: After Vinta Nanda & Sandhya Mridul, actress Deepika Amin accuses Alok Nath of harassment
(With inputs from IANS)