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    Feb 2010


    Default Controversy hits Balaji's Pavitra Bandhan; Director accused of sexual harassment

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    Shows from the stables of Balaji Telefilms are all about drama, both on and off screen.

    Be it actors walking out, or getting replaced, or crew members walking out of project due to troublesome Director (Jodha Akbar), the production house is truly all about intrigue.

    Now, we have exclusive information that another Balaji show, Pavitra Bandhan airing on Doordarshan has hit a controversial note.

    For the uninitiated, a couple of months back the lead actress of the above show Hritu Dudhani made a hue and cry over being assaulted by a character artist.

    Well, that was all sorted but now another character artist has stirred a storm.

    Sources inform that the Director of the show Shyam Pathak has been thrown out of the show for allegedly sexually harassing a character artist and making life difficult for her.

    An actor on terms of animosity gives the details. “This has been going on for a couple of months with the Director trying to harass the poor girl. He kept asking her phone number, stalking, making moves et al. She was left so scared that she could not even act properly. I wasn’t even aware of such things. Recently when we were shooting the haldi sequence, I got to know about the malicious perverted acts and that left me shocked. This is when all the female artists decided to take a stand and throw the man out of the project. We complained to the authorities and he is out, not only from the project but also from Balaji Telefilms.”

    So where were the males actors during the fiasco? “Since we were shooting for the haldi sequence, only female actors were present. Till the time they came on the sets, Shyam was already out.”

    Not wanting to bring out a one sided tale, we also spoke to the Director who claimed otherwise and stated that he has been framed.

    “This is all a deliberate attempt of the female artists to malign my image. I have nothing to do with such an incident. I have been part of the show for more than a year, why this sudden complaint now? I am someone who is really focused on my work and would never do something like this to spoil my career,” he shared.

    So what’s the real scenario? “To tell you honestly, the actors are pretty frustrated in the show especially the females. They are part of a Balaji show, but lack of visibility due to Doordarshan airing, kicks their senses. They hardly give time and put effort to help build the show, which left me disappointed and angry. I did raise my voice but it was only to get the work done and get episodes ready on time. But this did not go down well with a certain group of people and they created a ruckus on the floor. I chose to walk out of the show rather than working with such heads.”

    “There are still many actors who want me back, but I would not like to return as today they complained about harassment, tomorrow they might accuse me of rape. I have given my sweat and blood to the show and this is how I get treated. I have literally taught the actors to perform. They have no dedication towards this show and since I used to make them realise that, they stooped to such a level to hit back at me.”

    When we asked both the parties about the reaction from the production house, we were surprised to know that none connected to either Shobha or Ekta Kapoor to seek a solution on the matter.

    The same actor quipped, “Our main objective was to get such a man away from the sets and thus we discussed it with the team. We did not go to Ekta for we got the matter sorted with the authorities on set. And since Shyam agreed to go we did not find the need to go up to them.”

    On the other hand Shyam averred, “I have worked with Balaji Telefilms and directed some of their best shows from Kesar, Kasautii Zindagii Kay and Kayamath. I had the urge to actually go and talk to Shobha on this matter but then did not. It is a real sad incident and I am deeply hurt and thus did not want to make it a bigger issue and chose to move out in a dignified way.”

    Well so many versions to the incident. As they say, there are always three sides to a story, yours, theirs, and the absolute truth.

    We sent a text message to producer Ekta Kapoor for a comment but did not receive any reply till the time of filing the story.

    We did not mention the name of the harassed (allegedly) girl to maintain her dignity (on request). All we can say she continues to shoot for the show.

    Stay hooked to this space for more exclusive stories from TV



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