In the wake of the ongoing #MeToo movement, actor Alok Nath has been accused of sexual harassment and rape by the producer of his TV show, Tara, and other women he worked with. Now, actress Himani Shivpuri has come out to talk about how the veteran actor misbehaved with her even before he joined the film industry. The senior actress has revealed that Alok Nath was his senior at the National Institute of Drama and one day, under the influence of alcohol, he tried to act smart with her and even entered her room in the hostel.
While talking to CNN News 18 channel, Himani alleged that she knew of Alok’s offensive behaviour from the very beginning but didn’t say anything because ‘speaking out’ was not in fashion then. Narrating the incident, she said, “Once Alok Nath just walked into my room, under the influence of alcohol… I was scared. I came from a small town. He was speaking nonsense and trying to act smart. I had never seen a man in a drunken state. I told him ‘please go’. He refused to go. I cried and made noises. It was shocking. He was taken away later”.
She also mentioned that she had forgotten the incident completely and now when she read about various allegations against him, it suddenly struck her that he had also harassed her years back. She said, “It’s been so many years. I had almost forgotten about the incident. He’s got a split personality. When he’s working in the day, he’s the ‘sanskaari‘ baba… but after 6 pm, he used to start drinking… people stayed away from him”.
Himani added, “Women take a lot of time to speak up. Vinta Nanda’s post was shocking. Action should be taken against him. She must have been traumatised. It was a known fact that he used to do such things only after drinking. I knew that he becomes this kind of man under the influence of alcohol, so I was sure that I have to stay away from him after 6 pm”.
When asked why did she continue to work with him for so many years despite being aware of everything, the Hum Aapke Hain Koun actress explained, “It’s a very valid question. After some time, I had forgotten about the incident because a woman goes through so many shocks and setbacks already that it’s difficult to remember everything. Many years have passed, I stayed in Delhi for 10 years. When I joined the industry, he was a big man. I was a fresh actor. Rajshree was a homely place so one wasn’t scared there. So, that question never struck me. I knew that I was not supposed to see him after 6 pm or even if I am, I made sure I wasn’t alone. Those were the boundaries I set for myself to safeguard me. Not just him, we know so many people who abuse women like him. We keep quiet because one doesn’t want to lose on an opportunity because of a man”.
Himani further said, “We have to work in the industry because ‘magarmach se bair kaun le…‘ You don’t want to lose out on a film because a person is there. I made sure I don’t find myself in any such situation with him and at that time, I thought that was the best practice…”
Talking about the fear women have to go through while speaking out, she said, “Women know (everything) and they survive (without speaking out). Tanushree was thrown out of the industry when she spoke out in 2008. I want the action to be done here… because only that will lead women to speak up”.