By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, June 17 (IANS) Justice should take its course but Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja, in police custody on charges of raping his teenaged housemaid, shouldn't be condemned until proven guilty, say directors and actors who have worked with him.
Pritish Nandy: The matter is under investigation. I strongly believe in justice taking its own course. However, I feel too many people are jumping to too many conclusions. Let's not judge Shiney until the investigations are concluded.
Mahesh Bhatt: The news has shocked and shamed us. The Shiney we at Vishesh Films worked with in "Gangster - A Love Story" and "Woh Lamhe" is not the demon that surfaced in the media on Sunday night. If what is alleged is proved in the courts, we must condemn the dastardly deed with all our might. Our outrage cannot be selective.
Anurag Basu: I'm in a state of shocked disbelief. This has got to be conspiracy to malign him. Shiney has done two of his best films with me. We've bonded over a long period of time. Never ever has there been even a hint of bad behaviour from him. I wouldn't have tolerated it. It's not fair to try Shiney on television. Let the law decide. I'll believe it only if Shiney himself tells me. He has worked with some of the most beautiful heroines. No one has ever had any grievance against him. I feel this is a trap to malign him.
Sudhir Mishra: What can I say? The Shiney that I know and the Shiney that I hear about now are two different entities. Though he has been a little upset with me for six months because I was working with others actors, we're very close. "Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi" was not just the film that launched him it was also a turning point in my career. It bonded us for a lifetime. I just can't believe that the Shiney, who is being accused of this behaviour, is the same person I know. There were so many women on the sets. They never had any complaints about Shiney's behaviour. In fact, Shiney did a film with my assistant Ruchi Narain called "Kal: Yesterday and Tomorrow ". Shiney was always a thorough gentleman. I'm sure there's some misunderstanding here.
Mukesh Bhatt: I'm appalled by the way the electronic medium has already labelled Shiney a rapist. You can't do this to a man who has a family, career and a bright future. Do these byte-hungry channels realise how his career would be affected by all these premature and careless reports? Punish him by all means, if he's guilty. But let the law decide that. How do we now what really happened? Anyone can say anything about someone in the limelight. Suppose they had consensual sex? This behaviour seems so out of character and so absurd.
Kunal Kohli: I worked briefly with Shiney in "Fanaa". This is indeed very sad. Rape is the worst crime a man can commit against a woman. If he's guilty, then it's really very shocking and shameful. Any rapist should be dealt with in the severest way.
Shilpa Shetty: It's shocking! I can't believe it. We don't know for sure what transpired between Shiney and the girl and we really can't say what the truth us. But if it really happened, it's sad.
Chitrangada Singh: I worked with him in two films. It's very shocking and unfortunate. Though I didn't know him personally, I felt he was a nice guy on the sets. Kept a bit aloof. Quiet and ambitious. He got along with people just fine. I hope the investigations are fair. And that someone doesn't get punished for being a celebrity. He seems to have said it was consensual sex. I think it takes courage to own up. I hope he stays strong through this. People do make mistakes. One has to pay for wrongs done. But the punishment should be fair. And if there's rape, justice has to be done to the girl.