After being singled out for working with Alok Nath in his upcoming film De De Pyaar De, Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn says replacing the disgraced actor would have been a monetary blow to the makers of the film, reported Hindustan Times.
"When the #MeToo movement happened, I along with many of my film industry colleagues categorically expressed that I respect every single woman at the workplace and I would not stand for any unfairness or atrocity against them. Nothing about my stand has changed," Ajay said in an official statement.
"I reiterate I am extremely sensitive to the #MeToo movement. But when circumstances are beyond me, I don't see why an attempt is being made to 'single' me out as being insensitive. This is untrue," he said.
The statement has come after he was criticised by actor Tanushree Dutta, who opened India's Me Too movement's Pandora's Box, and writer Vinta Nanda who alleged that Alok raped her. Tanushree called him "morally bankrupt and a spineless hypocrite", and the latter said she "did not expect anything" from him.
Putting the decision to retain Alok's scenes in perspective, the Golmaal actor said, this film was supposed to be an October 2018 release, the shoot got over by September and the portions with Alok 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 surfaced (in October 2018) the actors in the film, including me, had already started work on other films," he remarked.
Also, it would be near impossible to get all the dates and combinations of actors in the film and attempt a re-shoot with some other actor, added the Singham actor.
"It would also have been a huge monetary loss for producers. The decision to replace Alok Nath could never have been mine alone. In this case, I had to go with the joint decision of the 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," shared Ajay.
It also could have meant doubling of budget, which again wasn't his 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."
At the film's trailer launch earlier this month, Ajay refrained from commenting on the #MeToo allegations against Alok.
In a statement, Tanushree wrote, "Tinsel town is full of liars, show-offs and spineless hypocrites. And it seems by a large public consensus that the signpost is pointing currently at Ajay Devgn."
She further added, "It's time India wakes up and stops worshiping these morally bankrupt actors, directors, producers and others who clearly put on a facade of being family men just to promote their careers that they build on the tears of women like Vinta and others whom they silence using their muscle power."
De De Pyaar De, a romantic comedy, also stars Tabu. Written and co-produced by Luv Ranjan and directed by Akiv Ali, it tells a story of how a 50-year-old falls for a girl much younger than him, and what happens when she meets his former wife.
It is slated for release on May 17.
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