Decision to replace Alok Nath in De De Pyaar De rested with producers, not me: Ajay Devgn on #MeToo
TV producer Vinta Nanda slammed Ajay for undermining the #MeToo Movement by working with rape- accused Alok Nath in his new film, De De Pyaar De
Ajay Devgn has responded to allegations of undermining the #MeToo movement by retaining actor Alok Nath in his upcoming film, De De Pyaar De. Alok Nath was accused of rape and sexual harassment by TV producer Vinta Nanda in October last year. His alleged predatory behavior was subsequently corroborated by celebrities from the television and film industries, including former co-stars Deepika Amin and Renuka Shahane.
At the trailer launch of De De Pyaar De on April 2 in Mumbai, Ajay was asked about Alok’s presence in the film, to which the actor responded by saying that the film was shot before the #MeToo allegations were made.
Recently, when asked about Alok being a part of De De Pyaar De, Vinta Nanda reportedly said that she didn't have any expectations from Ajay since he is not in any position to take a stand. She added that while Ajay had supported the victims during the #MeToo movement, he didn't have a problem working with Alok in his film.
Now, Ajay in an official statement has reiterated that the scenes featuring Alok Nath were canned in August last year, and that it was “near impossible” to reshoot the film due to logistical reasons. He adds that the decision for a reshoot did not rest with him alone, and would have caused huge monetary loss to the producers. The actor maintains that his stance on the #MeToo movement, and his respect for women at the workplace, remains unchanged.
Ajay Devgn's full statement:
“When the entire #MeToo Movement happened, I along with many of my film industry colleagues categorically expressed that I respect every single woman at the workplace and I would not stand for any unfairness or atrocity against them. Nothing about my stand has changed.
Coming to the question of having worked with Mr Alok Nath in my upcoming film De De Pyar De, here I must put certain things in perspective.
This film was supposed to be an October 2018 release. The shoot of the film got over by last September. The portions with Mr. Alok Nath were canned by August in Manali. The said portions were shot over 40 days across various sets and an outdoor location with a combination of over 10 actors. By the time the allegations came out (in October 2018) the actors in the film including me had already started work on other films. It would be near impossible to get all the dates and combinations of the several actors in the film and attempt a re-shoot with some other actor replacing Mr Nath. It would also have been a huge monetary loss for the producers. Everyone is aware that film-making is a collaborative process. The decision to replace Mr Alok Nath could never have been mine alone. In this case, I would have to go with the joint-decision of the entire unit. Not to forget, I could not have brought the entire combination of actors back or put up sets again for a 40-day re-shoot because this would mean doubling the budget, which again wasn't my call to make. It would have to be the call of the makers. Had circumstances played out even slightly differently, I would have pushed for a different combination of actors. Unfortunately, this was not to be.
I reiterate I am extremely sensitive to the #MeToo movement. But when circumstances are beyond me, I don't see why an attempt is being made to `single' me out as being insensitive. This is untrue.”