If there is one show that almost every Indian would know (maybe) and across generations almost at this point, it would be Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah.

The show running for 15 years now, one of the longest in India to date with over 3,000 episodes and still manages to get good viewership still has been the topic of many things in the Indian entertainment circle.

It has been praised, berated, and obviously been the fodder of endless memes at this point, several characters have become iconic too and their catchphrases incorporated into daily use.

However, for some time now the show’s name has been under the spotlight for some very negative reasons with cast members coming forward about toxic work environment, harassment, lack of payment, sexism and many more allegations, especially against producer Asit Kumarr Modi.

What Is Going On?

On May 14 reports came out of actor Jennifer Mistry Bansiwal (Roshan Sodhi) quit the show and alleged the show to be a “male-chauvinistic place,” and producer Asit Kumarr Modi, project head Sohail Ramani and executive producer Jatin Bajaj of sexual harassment.

She claimed that she left the show after 15 years, she was one of the original cast members because she was “subjected to humiliation and insult” by Sohail and Jatin.

Speaking with ETimes TV she said,

“On the last day, March 7 it was Holi and my anniversary. I had informed them in advance that I want a half day since my daughter really looks forward to that day. She waits for Holi. I even gave them an option that just gives me a two hours break, I’ll be back.

They made adjustments for everyone except for me. I kept requesting them but they did not listen. They adjusted for all the male actors. It is an extremely male-chauvinistic place. That’s when I retaliated and Sohail spoke to me rudely asking me to get out almost four times.

Then the creative person Jatin tried to stop my car. All this is recorded in the CCTV footage. This happened on March 7, I thought they would call me. But on March 24 Sohil sent me a notice that I left the shoot and they are losing money. This was ulta chor Kotwal ko Dante.

They wanted to scare me. On April 4, I replied to them on WhatsApp that I was subjected to sexual harassment, I sent a draft and they reverted to me saying I was trying to extort money from them.

I decided that day, I want a public apology. I took the help of a lawyer. On April 8th, I sent a notice to Asit Modi, Sohil Ramani and Jatin Bajaj and also mailed and sent a registry to all the government authorities.

I have not got any revert on the same but I am sure they must be looking into it and investigating the matter.”

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She even claimed that Asit Modi sexually harassed her several times

“There have been multiple incidents when he has tried to flirt with me and have made sexual advances. When we were shooting in Singapore, it was my marriage anniversary and at night, he told me, “Now, your marriage anniversary is over, so koi guilt nahi rahega aajao mere room mein dono whiskey peete hain…”

He has made sexual comments so many times. Once, he was openly making comments and flirting with me and one of my co-actors handled the situation for me.

There was also one incident when he called me ‘sexy’ and pulled my cheeks. Asit Modi has made sexual advances towards me many times in the past. Initially, I ignored all his statements because of fear of losing out on work. But it is enough now I won’t take it anymore.

They tried to forcefully stop me on the sets and were shutting the gates and not allowing me to go out. I sent the complaint mail to authorities a month back but haven’t got any revert. I am sure they must be looking into it and working towards the care. I am sure they must be investigating.

I have hired a lawyer and I know I will get justice very soon. I have given my 15 years to the show and if I am treated like this on the set so just imagine what they must be doing to the newcomers of junior artists.”

Priya Ahuja – Rita Reporter

Now Priya Ahuja who essayed the role of Rita Reporter, and is married to Malav Rajda the director of the show has also come out to speak against the makers and make shocking revelations. Rajda had incidentally quit the show himself earlier in the year and was among several who quit the show like Disha Vakani (Dayaben) and Shailesh Lodha (Tarak Mehta).

She explained to The Indian Express that “Once Malav left the show, they seemed to have ended all ties me too. I waited for some time but had to take up work, and thus signed a new show (Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Meiin). After giving so many years to the show, I should have been given that basic respect.”

Monika Bhadoriya – Bawri

Another castmate to come out with allegations is Monika Bhadoriya aka Bawri where she stated in an interview that “They do not value females. If a female actor is done with her shoot, they ask them to stay back. They try to finish male actor’s shoot first. Come what may, they do not value females there.”

She also spoke about how they don’t pay the artists on time “I had to fight for my hard earned money for one year even then they were not ready to release the payment. When I told them enough, now I’m going to file a complaint with CINTAA. That’s the time they panicked and released my payment. During my entire six years journey with Taarak, I never got the payment which was decided. He would go back on his words, saying I don’t remember what was decided. Woh sabka paisa rokte hain.. be it Shailesh ji, Gurucharan Singh, Raj Anadkat, Jennifer, Neha Mehta everyone has faced issues. I fought for one year. I would go and sit in his office but there was no help. When I sent them a notice only after that they cleared my payment.”

Exclusive Contracts

Several actors over the years have left the show too because of the ‘exclusive contract’ that kept them chained to the show. Shailesh Lodha and Raj Anadkat both quit the show because they wanted to work outside of the show but were not allowed to due to their contracts.

Asit Modi tried to justify it by saying “Yeh contract isiliye hota hai ke agar aap sab kuch karte rahoge… Audience ne jo pyaar diya, woh isiliye ke exclusive iss character mein dikhne mile. Yeh show yaha tak pahucha hai ussi ke karan. Agar yeh sab jo kalakar hai woh sab kuch karenge to show ki value nahi rahegi (Audiences have loved the show because they want to see these actors in these characters only. If they start doing everything, the show will lose its value).”

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: The Economic Times, Hindustan Times, The Indian Express

Find the blogger: @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah asit modi, asit modi, Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah cast, Jennifer Mistry, toxic work environment, sexism, harassment, Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah controversy, Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah crew, Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah complaint

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

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