MeToo movement has gathered steam in Bollywood with several artistes being called out for offensive behaviour. On Friday, Fox Star Studios removed casting-agent-turned-director Mukesh Chhabra from his directorial debut, Kizie Aur Manny, amidst sexual harassment allegations against him.
The statement read, "As a responsible organisation, Star India takes any allegation of sexual harassment of women at workplace very seriously.
Hence, Fox Star Studios has suspended the services of Mukesh Chhabra, director of our film Kizie Aur Manny, which is under production, till the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of M/s Mukesh Chhabra Casting Company concludes its inquiry into the allegations against him."
While, a week ago, mid-day had published survivors' accounts accusing Chhabra of sexual misconduct, a source close to the production unit reveals that four more survivors have apparently reported his misbehaviour to the studio since.
The source says, "In the past few days, four associates working on Kizie Aur Manny brought it to Fox Star's notice that Chhabra behaved inappropriately with them on set. They urged that the matter be investigated. That is when Fox Star swung into action. However, it is surprising that the production house hasn't put their Internal Complaints Committee [ICC] on the job. Ideally, a studio employs its ICC to enquire into the matter, but in this case, they have entrusted the ICC of Mukesh Chhabra Casting Company with the responsibility." Given the recent turn of events, the film remains in a limbo. "There are around 12 days of shoot left, including a foreign schedule."
When mid-day contacted Chhabra, he said, "The matter is now under the purview of ICC and I am bound by confidentiality." Fox Star India remained unavailable for comment till the time of going to press.
Rumours of Sushant Singh Rajput "being over-friendly" with Kizie Aur Manny co-star Sanjana Sanghi resurfaced yesterday. He responded to the allegations by sharing snapshots of his conversation with Sanghi, on Twitter. He wrote, "I feel sad to reveal personal information but it seems there is no other way to state what was, in the midst of this curated and well-timed smear campaign. From the first till the last day of the shoot, this is what happened on the Set with Sanjana(sic)." The snapshots reveal their chats about encouraging and supporting each other to perform better.