Alok Nath accused of rape and sexual misconduct
It has taken Vinta Nanda almost 20 years to share her story. To her credit, she has shared it among her colleagues, friends and family members only to be told that it is best to keep quiet about it. Now we know many people would come out and say, “Why did she wait 20 years?”, “Was she in a coma?”, courtesy of Drama Queen, Rakhi Sawant! After all, Alok Nath is some sort of legend, right? Sometimes what happens is when someone goes through something traumatising, they try to block in their memory. It’s why they share the incident with others hoping that something right can be advised to them. When they don’t get justice, they live with that incident and make themselves go through hell just to numb that memory. It eats them up from inside and as a result, they start acting, what others would call, crazy! We have said before if something like this happens to you, you will never get out of the pain and burn that memory unless you deal with it and get some sort of justice. It is only human nature to see justice happening to the ones, who did us wrong; justice by the law or justice via karma.
Here is Vinta Nanda’s story about her rapist:
Who is naturally a born:
Abuse takes a long time to fall into a form of a logical narrative. Sometimes it takes a lifetime and sometimes it never happens.
If it is difficult for a person like me, who is a writer of repute and a lauded storyteller, to give form to the physical as well as mental abuse I have gone through, I can well imagine what it must feel like for someone who is not a narrator of stories.
It was only last night, that I told my 85 years old mother, that maybe I should speak up about the one incident that changed my life and broke my confidence and spirit forever.
That threw me into depths of self destruction, until I eventually got a handle on myself, moved back into my mothers home and came right back to the path, which I was treading earlier.
You know what she told me?
She said, don’t do that.
It’s taken you two decades to process it and to be able to write fiction again. Don’t put yourself through the trial. God alone knows what alibi’s the perpetrator has prepared himself with to hold against you in anticipation of your coming out. We don’t have the money, nor the wherewithal to fight him so let it be.
Many of my closest friends know about what had happened.
For my mothers sake, I will stay silent. And speak it out through the fiction I will write, in the days that are yet to come…..
His wife was my best friend.
We were in and out of each other’s homes, we belonged to the same group of friends, most of us from theatre, slowly making our arts shine in the content renaissance, which had taken place because of the satellite television revolution of the 1990’s.
I was producing and writing the No 1 show on TV called Tara.
He was after my lead girl.
She was not interested in him.
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 but many of the guys would egg him on to be his worst.
My lead female actor was being harassed by him.
He would mess with her on the sets and everyone would be silent.
When she complained to us, we decided to let him go.
We needed one last shot between them and soon after it had been taken we had planned to let him know that we didn’t want to work with him any longer.
He had become aware of our plan and on that day, he came drunk on our sets.
He continued to drink till the time he was called for the shot.
When the moment came and the camera rolled, he felt up our female lead and very viciously.
My lead actress slapped him.
We asked him to leave the sets and told him that he was not going to be on the show any longer.
Life went on without him on the show and common friends intervened to patch us up as friends.
The ratings of the show kept soaring but the management at the channel changed and it started asking us to change the lead actress.
We said we could not do it but then the management demanded a change of generation story to start and asked us to cook up a younger Tara, who was to appear out of nowhere and was to be later revealed as the original Tara’s daughter, born out of wedlock to her or some such thing.
This also meant that our original Tara would continue with us.
We agreed to go ahead, not that we had much choice, but a day before we were to shoot the new generation story, we were told that the lead actor who had been asked to leave the show was to be brought back.
We did that because there was no room left for protest under so much oppression that we had by now been subjected to.
We had four more shows running on the same channel, all big on ratings and our refusal to do as we were being told to do meant jeopardising them.
The new generation story went on air and ran for a week.
We were called by the newly appointed CEO of the channel on the Monday of the following week and told to shut down the show, along with all our other shows.
I was insulted and humiliated by the CEO, asked to get out of his office and told that women like me should be thrown out of the country.
All our shows went off air with immediate effect and my production company was made to shut down.
Now is when the worst happened.
I loved my life, I was a successful woman, I smoked and I drank.
I was a liberated person.
I was invited to a party to this man’s house, his wife, my best friend was out of town.
It was usual for our group of friends from theatre to meet regularly so there was nothing unusual about my going to the party.
As the evening flowed, my drinks were mixed and I began to feel strange.
Then at around 2am I left his house.
Nobody followed me or offered to drop me home, which was what was rather unusual.
All I knew at the time was that I had to get home. I could sense it wouldn’t be right for me to stay there any longer.
I started to walk home on the empty streets although the distance to my own house was long.
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.
My company was closed but I got a job to write and direct a series for Plus Channel.
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.
Here’s the most difficult part, the main reason why I have taken so long to come out with the truth.
While I was working on this new series, 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.
I was completely shattered by then. It was a nervous breakdown I was going through, but I was trying to be brave.
I tried to pick up the threads of my life but channels and networks and sets and rehearsals started to freak me out.
I continued to write, but the couple of times that I pushed myself and found the courage to pitch for shows, I would break down during meetings.
Finally I gave up.
Almost 20 years later, I’m totally fine now, healed and reunited with my own self again.
I’m afraid of speaking to an audience.
For someone like me who was fearless and could talk to large audiences for hours, it is something that bothers me so I’m working on it.
The only reason I’m telling this story now is because I don’t want that any girl should ever fear holding the truth back.
What followed because of my silence was even worse.
I became easy prey because the message had been put out that I was afraid and so I would not open my mouth.
The couple of times that I wrote about what I had gone through created more complications because I stopped getting work.
To deal with all the fear and shame I drank myself silly almost every evening and even flirted with drugs.
I had friends who rallied around me and helped me clean up and restart my life in 2009, which meant that I had lived my trauma for 10 long years.
Social Media also saved me.
I had been done, dusted and buried as a professional but I was back in the face of the world on Facebook and soon on Twitter as well.
I had tremendous support from some friends including their trust, so I became emboldened and bounced back.
I have waited for this moment to come for 19 years.
I shout out to each one of you 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.
Shout out from the top of the roof.
My friend Nutan who is no more took me to the back road of #LokhandwalaComplex in #Andheri where she made me break a 100 empty bottles and I threw them into the mangroves and shouted out all my anger and frustration.
I never looked back after that day.
Irony is that the man, the predator in question here is the actor par excellence who is known as the most #Sanskaari (Cultured) person in the film and television industry.
From Economic Times, TOI:
Her suggestive remarks like “sanskaari” and that the person concerned was the “lead actor” and a “television star of that decade” were good enough to make out that she was indeed pointing the finger at Alok.
Later, confirming the same to IANS via SMS, the filmmaker said: “It is Alok Nath. I thought saying ‘sanskaari’ would do the needful.”
Alok Nath’s Response
Kuch to log kahenge. Neither I am 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 as for the matter if it has come out, it will be stretched. We only have to hear to women’s stand because they are considered weak.
From my point of view, it is something which is a fragment of a certain imagination, from a person for whom I did a lot of things in life. First of all, let’s not blame alcohol. Secondly, it’s her perspective.
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.”
Navneet Nishan, lead actress of Tara supports Vinta Nanda
I dealt with the four-year harassment by slapping the man in question, and it is done and dusted. l suffered the loss of the show and was further shamed by the man through media and I endured that.
Sandhya Mridul to Alok Nath: I urge you to come forward. Your time is up sir
Himani Shivpuri: His Jekyll-Hyde Personality Was An Open Secret
If he has done it, then it is very bad. You cannot force any woman to do anything against her will, using your power. It is tough for women. 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.
While we were in Dubai once for ITA awards, he had consumed liquor and his wife was worried and was disturbed with his behaviour as he was drunk. He was also once caught peeing in open and was deplaned from a flight as he had misbehaved on the flight. Media it seems was ill-informed about his image. Everybody knows what kind of a person he is. Some things are open secret in the industry.
Hats off to Tanushree Dutta and Vinta Nanda for speaking about it after so many years. When Tanushree spoke about it, she was thrown out of the industry 10 years ago. It is the women who get targeted because the society will point fingers at them. People were not that willing to open up at that time, even Vinta reported this after so many years.
Soni Razdan speaks on Alok Nath’s character:
I have seen him behave very very, I would say lecherously after he has been drunk. Even at one time, I wouldn’t say he made a pass at me but I didn’t like the way he was looking at me.