Anurag Kashyap, partners dissolve Phantom Films

Filmmakers Anurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl (right) along with two others set up Phantom Films in 2011.

Filmmakers Anurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl (right) along with two others set up Phantom Films in 2011.  


Survivor’s account on sexual assault by Vikas Bahl follows

In the wee hours of Saturday, filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, and producer Madhu Mantena in separate tweets from their personal accounts, announced the dissolution of Phantom Films, a film production and distribution company set up by them in 2011 along with filmmaker Vikas Bahl.

‘Glorious dream’

Mr. Kashyap. tweeted, “It was a dream, a glorious one and all dreams come to an end. We did our best and we succeeded and we failed. But I know for sure we will come out of this stronger, wiser and will continue to pursue our dreams our own individual ways. We wish each other the best.” Mr. Motwane tweeted, “Vikas, Madhu, Anurag and I have decided to dissolve our partnership in Phantom and go our separate ways. It’s been the craziest, greatest journey and the most wonderful partnership of my life. My three partners have been my family through thick and thin and I can’t thank them enough for their love and support for the past seven years. I wish them nothing but the best on their individual journeys from here on and hope our paths will cross again in better times.”

Mr. Mantena tweeted: “We had a glorious run for seven years and I guess sometimes even marriages end. I personally believe that Phantom is the best thing that happened to me in my producing career. I want to thank Anurag, Vikram and Vikas for being great partners, mentors and for holding my hand patiently through my dark times. Hope to continue to be friends and maybe even collaborate on individual films in the future. I know we wish each other the best. All of us will continue to work with our partners Reliance Entertainment exclusively.”

Starting off with Motwane’s Lootera, Phantom was at the forefront of backing 19 “indie-spirited” films including Queen, Ugly, NH10, Masaan, Udta Punjab, Raman Ragahv 2.0, Trapped, Mukkabaaz and the recent Manmarziyaan . It also produced the Netflix shows Sacred Games and Ghoul.

Sexual assault charges

Quick on the heels of the announcement of dissolution came a report in HuffPost India detailing the sexual assault accusations against Mr. Bahl that initially came to light in 2017 in Mumbai Mirror reports and how Phantom did nothing to address the complaints of the survivor. Allegedly, Mr. Bahl kept harrassing her till she had to eventually quit.

While the assault charges have been conflated with the dissolution drama — that the #MeToo #TimesUp movement gaining ground could have forced them to take a decisive action and distance themselves from Mr. Bahl — whispers in Bollywood suggest larger internal politics and money matters involved. In 2015, after getting into a 50:50 joint venture with Reliance Entertainment, the stakes for Phantom had grown exponentially.

The Hindu reached out to Mr. Kashyap, Mr. Bahl and Mr. Motwane, of whom only Mr. Motwane responded asking for some time to get back on the issue. Currently Mr. Bahl’s Hrithik Roshan-starrer Super 30 is in the making; a co-production with Nandiadwala Grandson and Reliance Entertainment. The fate of the employees is unclear. Meanwhile, film personalities like Hansal Mehta, Onir, Rangita Nandy, Apurva Asrani and Nikkhil Advani began tweeting in support of the survivor and for action against Mr. Bahl.

At the time of going to press, several people on Twitter had also been urging Mr. Roshan and the producers not to be involved with Super 30 and for audiences to boycott it, if it gets made.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 1:39:25 PM |

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