'Innocent until proven guilty doesn't apply here'
Mallika Dua says she never would have worked with Utsav Chakraborty if she had known about the sexual harassment allegations against him
I have worked with Utsav in sketches I did for AIB. I have met him at the AIB office, and he was talked about as being versatile. But, my interaction with him was minimal. Later, I heard he had moved to Bangalore.
I heard about what happened when I saw fellow comic Supriya Joshi's tweet today. When I read the entire thread, I was shocked. We had seen this happen recently with Shamir Reuben as well. For me, as far as such incidents go, there is no 'innocent until proven guilty'. If you choose to believe she [Mahima Kukreja] is telling lies, I choose to believe she is telling the truth.
It's disgusting and disturbing; we are walking/talking/working with predators every single day. These are extremely talented people, but that doesn't mean they are above doing all this.
I don't believe that an organisation should suffer because of one person, though. I am upset that my videos with Utsav have been delisted from AIB's site. I work hard for what I do. But what we can do is strip these guys of their title and glory. The comedy circle also has a very young target audience - girls who don't know their rights. Even flirting should have its boundaries. Lines like 'Hassi toh phassi' and 'Naa mein haan hain' are such wrong statements to make - this is the culture they are used to.
Utsav has said he wants to state the "context", and I would love to hear it. But right now, I am disgusted, and if I had known this earlier, I would never have worked with him.
As told to Aastha Atray Banan
Mallika Dua is an actor and comedian.
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