Chitrangada Singh: “Nawazuddin Siddqui Could Have Taken a Stand Against My Harassment, He Didn’t”

Chitrangada Singh: “Nawazuddin Siddqui Could Have Taken a Stand Against My Harassment, He Didn’t”

Chitrangada Singh, in the wake of the #Metoo movement, talks about the horrific experience she had on the sets of a Nawazuddin Siddiqui film
Chitrangada Singh: “Nawazuddin Siddqui Could Have Taken a Stand Against My Harassment, He Didn’t”
Chitrangada Singh

For Chitrangada Singh, the wounds of the horrific  incident that occurred  on  the sets of Kushan Nandy’s Babumoshai Bandookbaaz in 2016  are still raw and  hurting. For those who came in late, Chitrangada was asked to do a vulgar love-making sequence with  the film’s leading man Nawazuddin  Siddiqui. When she  protested, she was taunted, jeered, admonished until  she had to leave.

Recalling the ghastly  episode Chitrangada says, “I’d like nothing better than to forget  about it.  But the  incident  refuses  to go away. I had spoken about it when it happened two  years ago. But I was  declared ‘troublesome’ and ‘moody’ and  made to  pack my bags. They  found a replacement for me overnight (Bidita Bag) who went around saying how lucky she was to get such a role.”

Chitrangada feels, unless women in the film industry come together  to protest against exploitation it won’t stop. “How can men take our voices of dissent seriously when another actress walks right into a role after one actress says she’s been harassed ? It is true that women are the  worst enemies  of their own  kind. Even when  I  was  being harassed  on the sets  of Babumoshai Bandookbaaz the film’s lady producer was  there,  making things  worse  for me.”

For the record, Chitrangada was asked to take off her saree get on top of her hero and  rub herself.

“I pleaded that this was not in my comfort zone. I said I  was  wearing only a petticoat  underneath the saree. The  director told me not to fuss and  just do what was  required. I was  intimidated bullied and threatened into doing it. Some  crew members were mortified. But Nawaz just sat there waiting for  the storm to blow over,” recalls  Chitrangada.

After the harassment and bullying Chitrangada retired  into her van to weep. A little later she recalls the director  Kushan Nandy paying her a  visit. “He didn’t ask me  if I was okay. He just asked, ‘Are  you doing the scene?’. I said no. He left. Nawaz could’ve taken a stand against my harassment. He  didn’t. When empowered men  in  the  film industry do not take  a stand, the harassers feel encouraged.”

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