Posted by Fenil Seta
Mohar Basu (MID-DAY; March 18, 2017)
In an ironic twist, online digital entertainment channel TVF (The Viral Fever) has postponed the premiere of its new web series, 'Bisht, Please', which was set to launch on Saturday. Its protagonist is a lech of a boss. With TVF founder Arunabh Kumar battling a snowfall of allegations of sexual harassment that made news all week, the timing couldn’t have been more embarrassing.
In the 'Bisht, Please' trailer, the pesky boss says, “Women can have as much pre-marital sex as they want. Just give me your consent and I am going to turn off the camera.”
Interestingly, in an interview, Nidhi Bisht, chief casting director at TVF, had said about the show, “This is my flagship project. I have loaned my surname to the show, and it’s based on my misadventures in Mumbai. The story is an exaggerated version of my personal life.”
When an anonymous blog that labelled Arunabh a molester went viral on March 12, Bisht came out in strong support of the founder, calling the allegations baseless. Her Facebook post on March 13 read, “I am as shocked. Let me clarify that TVF has zero tolerance towards workplace harassment, and an investigation will be conducted and appropriate action will be taken. We have a Prevention of Sexual Harassment committee, which deals with such issues. I would request women to come forward fearlessly, and lodge a formal complaint. Be rest assured that due action will be taken and we’ll get to the bottom of the issue.”
In this sticky climate, it was only appropriate that Bisht, Please’s launch would be called off. A text from the TVF spokesperson to mid-day, said, “We have been looking forward to the show for long. The excitement remains the same, but we are rescheduling the release. We also, therefore, apologise for cancelling our ground event on Saturday. We have moved it to a later date and will keep you posted.”
Insiders are considering giving the issue a two-week cooling-off period before Arunabh comes out in public with his version. “Expect a few apologies from his end,” says a source.