Meira Omar, who was involved in a short role in Wajah Tum Ho (2016), has accused Anirban Blah of sexual harassment of late. She even recalled the horrible 2016 account which led to her leaving the country.
In an exclusive interview with Bombay Times, she opened up that how a worrying incident with Anirban led her to leave the country. Meira said, “Now that women are being heard, I want to share my experience with Anirban Blah and speak about the power games he plays. It was in 2016, and I was very new to India and Mumbai.
I came here to chase my childhood dream of becoming an actress in Bollywood. I was here on my own and had no connections or representation. Through research, I found out that KWAN was a reputed talent management agency. At that time, I wasn’t aware of the rumours about the man heading it. I only knew that he was the boss and I was naive.
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I reached out to him through Instagram DM (direct message) and was very honest about being new here. I asked him to give me a chance to meet his agency and he enabled that meeting. The meeting didn’t really seem successful and I remember feeling a bit disappointed and sad about it. Soon after, he contacted me and asked about the meeting with the team.
I told him the truth and he replied to me saying, ‘Listen, my team is very basic. They only go for girls similar to the ones who are in the top league today. They don’t know how to spot a star in the making. I am the one who creates stars and sees something when no one else can. This is what I’m known for’.”
The ambitious actress then recalls her first assignment. In an interview with Bombay Times, she told “After our first meeting, he followed up on the things he had spoken about and asked me if I was ready to start the process of finding my sex appeal. He gave me an ‘assignment’. He said that I should imagine I was doing a cover shoot for an international fashion magazine and for that, I should pick out four sexy looks.
He told me to really think about these looks, why I chose them, and how that represented my sex appeal. He told me to bring these looks to his ‘workspace’ again, where he would photograph me in them and we would dissect the looks together. This made me really uncomfortable. I didn’t reply to him for days, I consulted friends and other people I knew in the industry. This was the first time I got to hear about some of the rumours and stories surrounding him. I started realising that he didn’t really care about the assignment; basically, he just wanted me to undress in front of him.”
She explained in detail and said, “I messaged him saying that I wasn’t comfortable doing all this, at the same time, I didn’t want to lose this contact. So, I told him that instead, I could just show him pictures of my inspirations and what I think is desirable and create collages of those. This would help him understand my vision and we could work on it.
He replied saying something on the lines of, ‘Okay, just think about it some more, come to my workspace tomorrow and we can look at the photos, but bring your choice of looks anyway, just in case you feel like it.’ The next day I went there, without looks that he had requested for, and I could immediately sense a change in his attitude.
We sat down, I started talking about the different looks and I think he got bored. He then told me that he was really busy and that I should leave. I understood and called for a cab. While waiting, he looked at me and said, ‘F**k, you’re really sexy’ and he leaned over to kiss me. I got scared, but I was more scared of pissing him off, as that could make him more aggressive.
I carefully backed off and he turned around and told me that in this industry, these are the things that I will have to do with men. And if I can’t handle it, I should just leave. He said something to the effect of, ‘Bollywood won’t change for you, no matter how well-read or how much of a feminist you are. You don’t necessarily have to sleep with everyone, but you have to kiss, touch or tease them. Kissing is always okay’.
He talked about how he loves kissing, and even though he is in a happy relationship with his wife, he does it a lot with other women. My cab had arrived and I got up to leave. He pushed himself against me and kissed me again at the door. I felt paralysed and scared, and I could do nothing. I just took my bag and ran out. I remember not being able to feel my legs as I was looking for the cab.”