#MeToo: Filmmaker Vikas Bahl sues former partners Anurag Kashyap, Motwane for defamation

Filmmaker Vikas Bahl, accused of sexually harassing a former worker has now approached the Bombay High Court with a defamation suit seeking Rs 10 crore against his former Phantom Films partners Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane for defamation.

According to the reports, Vikas Bahl filed the suit and also sought an interim restraining order against the two from making any statement about him in the media or social media. The court on Wednesday did not provide any relief to Bahl but decided to hear the matter on Friday.

However, the court has also directed that the victim woman who had made allegations against Bahl of sexual harassment and the fourth partner in Phantom Films, Madhu Mantena also to be made parties in the defamation suit. Vikas Bahl through his lawyer Hitesh Jain, apart from the damages, has also sought a permanent injunction against Kashyap, Motwane and others from issuing any “defamatory” statements or writing any posts against him stating that they are “completely false, erroneous and defamatory in nature”.

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“The Plaintiff (Bahl) states that Defendant Nos. 1 and 2 (Kashyap and Motwane) taking advantage of the ongoing “#Metoo” movement in the country, published false, malicious, unsubstantiated imputations, allegations and statements against the Plaintiff through their Twitter accounts and other social media platforms”, states the defamation suit.

Prior to this, Bahl had issued a legal notice to his former partners of the Phantom Films and had also called them as “opportunists” for using the allegations to defame him. In the notice, Bahl had asked for an unconditional apology and to withdraw messages from social media and had warned them of filing a defamation suit if they fail to do so.

Vikas Bahl, the partner of controversial director Anurag Kashyap’s Phantom Films, was called out by a woman claiming to be an employee of their movie venture. The lady had claimed that Vikas Bahl had tried to involve her in a forceful sexual encounter during movie promotions. She has accused Bahl of trying to undress her and violated her by putting his hands inside her dress. However, she claimed that Vikas Bahl got agitated for her resistance and ended up masturbating on her.

The ‘MeToo Movement’ in India has started to haunt many notable people from across the spectrum involving stand up comedy, journalism, cinema, politics. People like Alok Nath, Varun Grover and comedians like Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba, co-founders of All India Bakchod are all being accused of sexual misconduct. The notable filmmaker like Rajat Kapoor, Sajid Khan and Journalists like Vinod Dua and Sidharth Bhatia of The Wire, Prashant Jha of the Hindustan Times have all been accused of sexual harassment in the past by few women.

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