After the various film and media personalities, including stand up comics, being outed by women on the accusation of sexual harassment, veteran film actor Alok Nath has now been accused of sexual assault by a former colleague, writer-producer Vinta Nanda who wrote the hit tv show Tara. In a Facebook post on Monday, without naming Alok Nath, she recounted the incident from 90s when she was working on the show Tara. She had given ample hints in her post and later confirmed to IANS that she was indeed talking about Alok Nath.
In her post, she talks about how her assaulter was the husband of her best friend and they were regularly going to each other’s homes, socially. While she was producing Tara, he (Alok Nath) was allegedly after her lead girl, who was not interested in him. She accuses him of being an alcoholic and displaying obnoxious behaviour, but the same was overlooked because he was one of the most popular actors. She accused him of harassing the lead actress, and even tried to molest her on the set. Alok Nath was later kicked out of the show but soon after the show went off air.
Nanda adds in her post that later her friends tried to patch up between her and Alok Nath. After Tara went off air, Nanda had moved on in her life and was at a happy place. However, she says, things went worse then. Alok Nath, she claims, invited her to a party at his place, when his wife was out of town. It was quite usual for the group of theatre friends to meet, she says, and hence there was nothing strange about the invite. She says that as the evening went further, her drinks were mixed and she started feeling strange. So at around 2 am, she decided to walk home as she didn’t feel right to stay back. Midway, she says, Alok Nath was driving past and asked her to sit in his car so he could drop her home. She said she trusted him and sat in his car, but following it, she has very vague recollection after that. She remembers more alcohol being poured in her mouth and being violated, endlessly. She says she woke up the next day in her house in a lot of 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,” she says in her Facebook post.
She says her company was shut down, and he created an environment for her where she felt threatened. She then further narrates an incident which shattered her completely, and also the reason which took her so long to come out.
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.
She says that now after twenty years, she has recovered and is in a better state, mentally, but still afraid of speaking to an audience. She says that the only reason she is talking about it now is that she does not want any girl to hold back the truth.
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.
She says the trust friends and people have in her have emboldened her to bounce back. She urges other women who have faced such situation to speak up and not hold back.
At the time of this report, Alok Nath has not responded to the allegations. His last response on Twitter (except for retweets for blood requirements) was in April this year.