Bahl seeks withdrawal of ‘contradictory’ statements made by Kashyap and Motwane on social media regarding the victim of alleged 2015 assault.
Film director Vikas Bahl, who was accused of sexual assault by a former employee of Phantom Films amidst the raging #MeToo campaign, has labelled his two partners at the film production company – Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane – “opportunists” for using the allegations to defame him.
In two separate, but similarly worded legal notices, sent to Kashyap and Motwane on Tuesday via email, Bahl accused them of not only orchestrating the whole campaign against him, but also using the opportunity to disband Phantom Films, making him look like the person responsible for the production house’s fall.
The notice, issued through Advocate Shamsher Garud of Jayakar and Partners, alleges that Kashyap bribed another employee of the production house to make similar allegations against Bahl. “This makes us wonder whether the alleged incident [of sexual assault] also has any authenticity, given that the alleged victim was, in fact, working as your own employee.”
Kashyap and Motwane dissolved Phantom Films on Monday after an unidentified employee of the production company outed Bahl, alleging he sexually assaulted her in Goa during a promotional tour for Bombay Velvet in 2015. As per the allegations, first reported by this newspaper in April last year, Bahl insisted on dropping her to her hotel room after an event on May 5, 2015 and pretended to pass out drunk on her bed, only to awaken soon after and masturbate on her. The victim was allegedly alone at that point and was recovering from an accident had only just begun to walk unassisted.
Phantom Films was established in 2011 by Kashyap, Motwane, Bahl and producer Madhu Mantena. The company’s productions include Lootera, Hasee Toh Phasee and blockbuster Queen starring Kangana Ranaut.
The notice alleges that Kashyap and Motwane acted on hearsay to paint Bahl as the villain of the piece. “You are neither a witness nor the alleged victim, but instead an opportunist seeking to derive benefit based on unsubstantiated information. The alleged incident has not been established in any court of law and that you have exploited the media to propagate your own personal vendetta,” the notice says.
Bahl has alleged that he, along with Kashyap, Motwane and Mantena had anyway been discussing dissolution of Phantom Films for the past few months because of creative and professional differences. “However, putting [the blame of the production house shutting down] solely on Bahl is in bad taste,” the notice says.
The notice says that with the alleged victim herself referring to Kashyap’s media statements as “sudden moral enlightenment”, it is clear that “there is personal agenda behind it [their statements in the media supporting the victim]”