Think Twice Before Defaming Others. A Lesson for Payal Ghosh & Others With Verbal Diarrhoea on Twitter & TV

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Think Twice Before Defaming Others. A Lesson for Payal Ghosh & Others With Verbal Diarrhoea on Twitter & TV

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Bor an industry that runs on public adoration, Bollywood’s reputation has taken a nasty battering this year. Among the many names dragged through the muck by the media and their own peers, one belonged to the actor Richa Chadha. She was named by Payal Ghosh in an accusation of rape against director Anurag Kashyap. Ghosh alleged that Kashyap tried to force himself on her, and also claimed that the filmmaker told her that actresses like Chadha, Mahie Gill, and Huma Qureshi would perform sexual favours for him.

Chadha did not take kindly to Ghosh taking her name in an unproven allegation, and filed a defamation suit seeking damages to the tune of ₹1.1 crore. However, after placing the matter before the Bombay High Court, the two actors came to a settlement where Chadha withdrew her lawsuit after Ghosh tendered an unconditional apology before the court.

Chadha managing to extract an apology from Ghosh is an encouraging sign for other equally embattled peers in the film industry. Over the past few months, TV news channels have demonstrated a stubborn and invasive obsession with painting Bollywood in a negative light. Allegations of drug use and sexual improprieties have been bandied about wantonly. Even Ghosh’s initial accusation of Kashyap was via a video interview to a Telugu news channel. Earlier this week, a collective of filmmakers and industry bodies filed a lawsuit against the anchors of two news channels, Republic TV and Times NOW, for their damaging reports.

Ghosh, on Twitter, has tried to claim that the settlement is a “win-win” conclusion for Chadha and herself. However, the fact that she had to retract her defamatory statements against Chadha and issue an apology makes it clear that there are consequences for loose words.

With Richa Chadha’s victory in Bombay High Court, and the upcoming hearing in the Delhi High Court against Republic TV and Times NOW, it appears the insulted members of Bollywood have turned to the judicial system as their primary defence.