Ajay Devgn and Tanushree Dutta.
A day after Tanushree Dutta criticised Ajay Devgn for continuing to work with Alok Nath in De De Pyaar De, the Bollywood actor has clarified that he could not have taken the decision alone to reshoot the film. Tanushree had said that it was possible to reshoot Nath's scenes after the allegations against him were made public, "but no, they had to keep the alleged rapist in their film and rub it on not only (accuser Vinta Nanda's) but on all our faces".
She also accused Ajay of supporting Nath in making "a comeback to Bollywood". The veteran actor has been accused of rape and sexual harassment by writer Vinta Nanda. A case was filed against him and he has been granted anticipatory bail. In response, Ajay released a statement on Thursday, reaffirming his support to #MeToo movement.
"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 work place and I would not stand for any unfairness or atrocity against them. Nothing about my stand has changed," he said.
The actor, however, clarified that "De De Pyaar De" had completed its shooting when the allegations against Nath came out in the public domain. He said everybody in the cast had moved on to other projects and therefore it would have been impossible to arrange reshoots for the film.
"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," Ajay said.
"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," he added.
Ajay said he was not the producer of the film and therefore it would not be his call to reshoot the film. "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," he said.
Ajay once again stated that he is "extremely sensitive" towards the #MeToo movement but wondered why attempts were being made to single him out as "insensitive". De De Pyaar De, also featuring Tabu, Jimmy Shergill and Rakul Preet Singh, will release on 17 May.