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#MeToo movement reaches Tollywood

  • Published at 12:55 am January 13th, 2020
Tollywood #MeToo allegations
Actor Rupanjana Mitra alleges that Arindam Shil harassed her during talks over a script | Facebook

According to Rupanjana, Arindam shifted to his 'director mood all of a sudden,' and started narrating the script to the actor

Popular Tollywood actor Rupanjana Mitra has brought allegations of sexual misconduct against renowned film director and actor Arindam Shil, which shook the entire West Bengal film industry. She is accusing Arindam Shil of inappropriate sexual behavior after calling her in his office for a reading of the script of a daily soap.

In an interview with Anandabazar, Rupanjana said, “I went to Arindam’s office to read the script of the first episode of a show called Bhoomikanya that he was going to direct. It was only the beginning of the Durga festival. I had an appointment with him around 5 pm. However, his office was completely empty except for the production boy, who was later tacitly instructed to go away after offering tea to me. Afterwards, I was alone with Arindam in his office. No one could possibly hear my screams, such was the location of his office chamber.”

The actor further described the details of her encounter with the director saying, “He suddenly came closer to me. There is no way I can completely explain the sinister air in his office. The way he sat and spoke, it was all very meaningful. I was praying to God for someone to come and rescue me. However, there was no one else. I feared that I was about to get raped. He kept caressing my body. What he could possibly do next can easily be predicted by any woman who has been in a similar unfortunate situation. Finally, I told him to stop as clearly as I could and asked him to tell me about the script instead. I think it was at that particular moment when he understood that he couldn’t play his regular tricks on someone like me.”

According to Rupanjana, Arindam shifted to his "director mood all of a sudden," and started narrating the script to the actor. She added, “After 5 minutes or so, his wife came to the office out of nowhere and it got incredibly quiet afterwards. He became a wife loving husband in an instant!”

Arindam Shil is the director of popular films like Mitin Masi, Ebar Shabor, and Eagoler Chokh. Bangladeshi actor Zoya Ahsan started her career in Tollywood with his film Abarta.

In a response to the allegations raised against Arindam Shil, he said, "This might be a political stunt. I have been friends with Rupanjana for a long time. After our meeting, she sent me a text saying how excited she was regarding our project. I don’t know why she is doing what she is doing now. She is clearly lying. If a woman says anything about a man, are we now supposed to take for granted that she is speaking the truth?."

In 2018, Hollywood stars first started the #metoo movement in an attempt to shed light on the prevalent culture of sexual misconduct in the film industry. Indian actor, Tanushree Dutta was the first Bollywood actor to raise allegations against renowned Indian actor Nana Patekar, which was followed by more allegations against various producers and directors currently working in Bollywood. Now, this is the first instance of the #metoo movement reaching the Kolkata film industry, shaking it to its core.