Bollywood actor and comedian Sunil Grover, who recently worked with director Vikas Bahl in the web series ‘Sunflower’, isn’t keen to comment on the sexual misconduct allegations against his good friend, but believes that the National Award-winning Indian talent isn’t capable of the crime that he has been accused of.
In 2018, Bahl was accused of sexual misconduct by his former employees from his now-defunct production company Phantom Films founded by him and directors Anurag Kashyap, Vikramadita Motwane and Madhu Mantena.
“I don’t know about the full thing [sexual misconduct claims], but whatever I know of Vikas sir as a colleague and as a well-wisher is that I love working with him. I don’t think he would so such a thing. It’s not even possible,” said Grover in an interview over a Zoom call with Gulf News.
Grover added that he truly didn’t have the right to say anything about it, but he had full faith in his friend and co-worker. Bahl has denied those sexual misconduct claims, and an internal complaints committee of Reliance Entertainment who are reportedly a 50 per cent stake hold in Phantom Films had given a clean chit to Bahl.
Grover’s thriller series ‘Sunflower’ will premiere on Zee5 on June 11 and is a murder mystery that takes place in a housing society. Grover plays the lead character Sonu Singh, who comes across as innocent at first but his role becomes murkier as the web series progresses. Working with Bahl was a learning experience, claims Grover.
“Vikas and I were planning to work together for a long time … He approached me for a few projects, but it didn’t materialise. But finally clicked with ‘Sunflower’.” He was asked to lose around 7Kgs for his role and he did it unquestioningly.
“I can’t describe the genre of ‘Sunflower’. But it has thrills, humour, dark comedy … It has some great writing,” said Grover.
‘Sunflower’ is one of Bahl’s significant works that has emerged since the controversy. His film with Hrithik Roshan ‘Super 30’ released after the allegations came to light. Bahl had kept a low profile during the promotions of that film.
In October 2018, in an interview with Huffington Post India, a former employee of Phantom Films accused Bahl of sexually harassing her on a promotional tour for ‘Bombay Velvet’. Soon after, actress Kangana Ranaut, who worked with Bahl in of their biggest hits together ‘Queen’, backed the allegations.
“(I) Totally believe her, even though Vikas was married back in 2014 when we were filming ‘Queen’, he bragged about having casual sex with a new partner every other day. I don’t judge people and their marriages but you can tell when addiction becomes a sickness,” she said in statement at the time.
Read the full interview in Gulf News soon.