#MeToo: Malayalam actor-turned MLA Mukesh accused of harrasment

Thiruvananthapuram: As the #MeToo campaign gains momentum in the country, Malayalam actor-turned MLA Mukesh has been accused by a woman casting director of Bollywood of harassing her in 1999 during shooting of a   television show. Tess Joseph Tuesday took to Twitter to share the harrowing experiences she had to undergo from the “Godfather” actor while he was hosting the quiz programme “Koteeswaran”. An MLA of the ruling CPI(M) and the host of several popular TV shows, Mukesh, however, rejected the charges and said he did not even remember the shooting of the programme. “Took 19 yrs but here is my story #MeTooIndia #TimesUp #Metoo,” Tess, who has cast for international films such as “Lion”, “Life of Pi” and “The Namesake”, tweeted as she joined the campaign.

She alleged that Mukesh had called her room multiple times during the shooting of the TV show and changed her room to beside his at the hotel where they had stayed. Tess also thanked her then boss Derek O’Brien who had helped her escape the harassment. “I was 20 years old quiz directing #koteeswaran when the mallu host #mukeshkumar called my room multiple times and then changed my room to beside his on the next sch,” she tweeted. “My then boss @derekobrienmp spoke to me for an hour & got me out on the next flight. 19 yrs on thank you Derek,” she said.

Tess also came out against the staff of the five star hotel where she had stayed during the TV shoot, for changing her room as Mukesh asked for it. Asked about the charge, Mukesh laughed it off and said he did not even remember either the shooting days or Tess. Known for his comedy and supporting roles in several blockbuster Malayalam films in the last three decades, the actor, however, was not ready to say anything further.

Following Hollywood’s #MeToo movement, which has seen several women there speaking out about sexual harassment faced by them, many people are referring to actress Tanushree Dutta’s statement on Nana Patekar as the beginning of a similar campaign in Bollywood. Dutta has accused Patekar of behaving inappropriately with her on the sets of the film “Horn Ok Please” in 2008. Following her allegations, women across various spheres, including journalists, have taken to social media, narrating their ordeal.

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