Television actress Shilpa Shinde, who featured in the comedy show Bhabi ji Ghar Par Hai!, made headlines recently as she accused her producer Sanjay Kohli of sexual harassment. The actress reportedly said in her FIR that he often tried to get intimate with her and even threatened that he would throw her out of the show if she refused to give in to his demands. The news came one year after she quit the show abruptly after an argument over her contract. However, co-actor Soumya Tandon and producer’s wife Binaifer Kohli refuted her claims.
Speaking about Shilpa, Kavita says, “Being a public figure comes with a certain responsibility. If you are not raising an alarm when your dignity is being violated and are talking about [the molestation] after a year, you are setting a bad example for all women. In the past year, you have not been silent. You’ve been fighting and raising several other issues. If you choose a serious crime like sexual harassment to be your last resort, then that evidently makes its seriousness invalid. You are a vocal and strong woman who is known for her fiery temper and assertive nature in the industry, and there’s nothing wrong with that. So what made you go numb for more than a year to scream out that a man is torturing you? Believe me, women would have stood by you then.”
Kavita feels that Shilpa is “setting a poor example for hundreds of girls out there” who are less privileged than her and do not have power or money. She says, “You have been quiet for a year, and that’s very uninspiring. The woman card is a precious one if used for the truth. It brings immense power and success. If it is used for a lie, it may give you momentary success, but it brings very dark karma.”
Questioning the authenticity of Shilpa’s claims, Kavita added, “Sanjay is a boisterous man, but is he a man who will force himself on a woman? As a family man, is he dumb enough to do something as suicidal as making a pass at a strong woman? I’m not on anyone’s side, I’m just laying [down] the facts for everyone to decipher.”
Kavita admits that she herself had many fights with the producers over costumes to shooting dates to even food but they never brought it out in public. She said, “I say this as someone who has worked with this team for nine years. And no, I’m not interested in any projects with them currently and neither are they my friends. I speak now because suddenly other people are also throwing a volley of allegations at an already cornered couple. Why did they wait so long? I feel that issues get solved when addressed at the right time, whereas revenge awaits the right moment.”
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