Jennifer Mistry, who essayed the character of Mrs Sodhi in Sony Sab's iconic show 'Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma', has levied some severe allegations against Asit Modi, the producer of the show. Jennifer opened her heart in a conversation with India Forums and made some explosive revelations.
We asked Jennifer about all the ugly exits from the show in the past few years and the reason behind these incidents coming to light recently. To this, Jennifer said, ''Everyone's exhaustion level has just grown. Everyone knows what is happening on sets, but people just stay mum. I've said whatever I had to. They tried to suppress me by telling me that I was extorting money. Extorting money? How? Is it called extortion if I ask for my own money? I did not want to come out in the open because these are rich and powerful people. When I told my lawyer about all that has happened in the past few years, he asked me to file the case and assured me that justice would prevail.''
We then asked Jennifer about her allegations against producer Asit Modi and asked her to give us an insight into what exactly conspired. To this, she revealed, ''It all began on a very light note. A few years back, he asked me if I drink, and I affirmed. To this, he said, 'Kaafi Bindaas ho, openly bolti ho.' I then told him that it is because it is very okay in our culture to drink. This went on for a couple of years, where he would ask me to join him for drinks, and I would somehow dodge. But then, one fine day, back in March 2019, when we were shooting for the show in Singapore, things went a little overboard. I had just got done with my anniversary celebrations before leaving for the shoot. He approached me and told me, 'Ab toh Anniversary khatam ho gayi hai, aajao room mein ab.' Then, when I was staying alone, he said, 'Tumhari room partner nahi hai aajao mere room mein, let's drink whiskey.' I still chose to ignore everything. But one day, when I was standing alone, he came up to me and told me, 'Tumhare hoth bade sundar hai pakad kar kiss karne ka mann kar raha hai.' That was the day when I lost it. I was scared because I was in an unknown city and my husband too was not there. I went up to two of my colleagues (I won't name them) and narrated everything to them. Then, they shielded me. I told Sohail that I wanted to quit, but he said that they would stop my money. I wanted a few leaves, and when I called my producer crying to ask about the same, he said, 'Tum kaafi dur ho, paas hoti toh hug karleta, aajao paas.''
One day, when I was standing alone, he came up to me and told me, 'Tumhare hoth bade sundar hai pakad kar kiss karne ka mann kar raha hai.' That was the day when I lost it. I was scared because I was in an unknown city and my husband too was not there.- Jennifer Mistry Bansiwal
Further, we asked Jennifer if her costars had come out in support of her, and the actress said, ''None of them. Not a single actor who is currently working. But yes, a few ex-costars have reached out to me and have told me that they will support me and, if need be, they will also come to the court. An ex-director reached out to me. He is currently not in Mumbai. He too told me that he will support me and that he knows a lot of stories about Asit Modi.''
Reacting to the production team's recent statements calling the actress unprofessional and aggressive, Jennifer said, ''15 years later, they have realised that I am unprofessional? I have been a part of the show for so many years. Post my pregnancy, they replaced me for a few months but then asked me to join again. Why? Why did they do that if I was unprofessional? I did not want to speak up, I wanted to stay quiet, and I was very neutral even after I quit the show. But if you keep oppressing someone, how long will they be able to take it?''
We asked Jennifer how long she has been facing harassment from producer Asit Modi and the production team, and the actress said, ''As I mentioned earlier, it all started very early. But you know, you have a house to take care of, you have to make money, you have to work too. On the other hand, the realisation that these people are powerful would scare me. But like I told you, after the incident that took place in Singapore in March 2019, I got really scared, and he, too, realised that I was never going to give in to all this. So post that, he would not even reply to my greetings. My screen space was reduced, and my dialogues were reduced. So this is all that happened.''
Further, we asked Jennifer if anybody apart from her has gone through something similar on the sets of the show, and the actress said, ''It has happened to a lot of people. But it is their story to tell. I have heard a lot of stories about junior artists and one-day artists going through these things. But whoever has left the show will definitely speak up. Gurucharan might speak, Shailesh ji too can speak up, Manav can. But whoever is still working in the show will definitely not say a word.''
After the incident that took place in Singapore in March 2019, I got really scared, and he, too, realised that I was never going to give in to all this. So post that, he would not even reply to my greetings. My screen space was reduced, and my dialogues were reduced. So this is all that happened.- Jennifer Mistry Bansiwal
When we asked Jennifer the reason behind finally speaking up after all these years, the actress said, ''As I said, I did not want to do anything. I quit the show on the 7th of March. However, I also thought that if the makers wanted me back, I would still consider it from a neutral point of view. But they started sending endless emails and would state that I was trying to extort money and that they had faced losses. I have used my makeup and my jewellery so many times. I never mentioned it.''
Talking about the reaction she has been receiving from her fans and the audience of the show, Jennifer said, ''I have not even checked the comments on my latest post. I thought I needed to release a statement, so I released that video. But I did not check the comments. However, my friends and family have been calling me and have been saying that I am receiving a lot of support from my fans. So I am happy about that. People have been shocked thinking about things like these and their existence in the present day and age. Well, it happens everywhere, just that people rarely speak up. I, too, did not want to but had to because things went out of hand. My husband has been a huge support to me. He asked me to leave the show the day I told him about whatever happened. He told me that he was with me.''
We asked Jennifer if finding work post this incident would be difficult for her, and the actress said, ''I was ready for this. I don't have anything to say. What can happen? That I will be a housewife? It's alright, I will be a happy housewife. I will be happy with my 'Dal roti.' Whatever God wills. The production team would keep stating that they were giving us work and that TMKOC was the number one show. Oh please, who are you? God? God has done this.''
We tried reaching out to producer Asit Modi and his team, but they remained unavailable for any comments.
Earlier, Asit Kumarr Modi reacted to Jennifer Mistry’s sexual harassment allegations. In his official statement, Modi called these allegations ‘baseless’ and said that he would take legal action against the actress.
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