Filmmaker Neeraj Ghaywan Comes Down Heavily on Phantom Films Over Vikas Bahl Sexual Harassment Row
Neeraj Ghaywan criticises Phantom Films for its failure to create a safe working environment for their women employees. (Photo Credit: India TV)

After the Bollywood actress came forward with explosive allegations of sexual misconduct against the veteran actor Nana Patekar, many women came forward and shared their horrifying incidents too. Recently, a woman employee at Phantom Films, which had Vikas Bahl as one of the partners along side Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena, too had levelled allegations of molestation against Bahl. She had said that Bahl had behaved inappropriately during a trip to Goa. The report had also suggested that Phantom founders, despite knowing the truth for almost two years, didn’t do much about it. In, fact Bahl continued to harass her until she finally quit the company. Hansal Mehta Quits Twitter After He Gets Massively Trolled for His Tweets on Vikas Bahl

Talking about the same, Neeraj Ghaywan, whose 2015 drama Masaan was jointly produced by Phantom Films, criticised Phantom Films for its failure to create a safe working environment for their women employees. Filmmaker Neeraj took to Facebook to share a post where he apologises for not being able to take any strict action against Vikas Bahl despite being aware of his actions.

He wrote on Facebook, "My entire film career has shaped at Phantom Films. It has been a great run. However, I have to share what I felt about the recent allegations that I have come out. I have felt absolutely disgusted by what Vikas Bahl did to a fellow team member. A legal complication enabled that he couldn't be sacked owing to him being a partner. THAT complication has enabled him to make another film while she continued to go through agonizing mental trauma. It was her choice not to speak at the time and I respect that. However, we all are complicit in that system."

He further added, "I will speak for myself. I am complicit in working with the company that allows it. I allowed myself to work where such toxic male behaviour and perverse patriarchal mind-set fostered. I am extremely sorry I didn’t push hard enough. I can only promise, which may sound meaningless at this point, that I will do whatever it takes to break this culture of enabling the predatory behaviour. In the wake of recent events--like Tanushree Dutta’s case---I have introspected a lot. I feel that the lack of women crew members enables this male entitlement and trivializes (or brushes under the carpet) such incidents easily."

Neeraj Ghaywan went on to say that he will no more work or sign a film with a company that does not enforce the posh guidelines against such predators. He wrote, "At a personal level, I have been partially following some informal/unsaid rules as far as my personal working ecosystem is concerned and I am going to stringently enforce them from here on. I will not sign a film with a company that does not enforce the PoSH guidelines or if its legal framework disallows sacking/taking action against partners over sexual misconduct."

The filmmaker further added, "I will make sure that at least 30% of the entire crew and half of the HoDs of any project I work on are women because women in power positions will ensure that such incidents are not overlooked by men in the hierarchy. I will ensure that we have meetings and orientation discussions about on-set and off-set appropriate behaviour. I will enable an atmosphere that encourages women to speak." Watch this space for further updates.