Geetu Mohandas responds to Stephy Xavior’s allegations!
Recently, costume designer Stephy Xavior had raised allegations against a prominent woman filmmaker who is part of the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC). Stephy without naming the director complained that she was scrapped from the project when she asked for remuneration. Though Stephy did not mention the name, it was evident that the allegations were made against Geetu Mohandas, who last made ‘Moothon’. Associate director Aisha Sultana also extended support to the costume designer.
Geetu Mohandas has now responded to the allegations made against her. Geetu, also without mentioning the name, has written that such baseless accusations have put her and the whole team of ‘Moothon’ in distress. In her Facebook post, the director mentions that she was unhappy with Stephy’s work and that’s why she was removed. She mentions that they both parted ways amicably after a meeting at her home.
According to Geetu, costumes for ‘Moothon’ were entirely designed by Maxima Basu and Stephy was asked to be part of the project for a brief schedule when Basu had taken her maternity leave. Geetu also admitted that she might have spoken harshly and she is not really proud of it. However, she accused Stephy of twisting the circumstance under which such words were spoken.
Geetu also alleged Stephy of taking away the costumes designed by Maxima without the crew’s knowledge. Apparently, Stephy’s assistant had said that the costumes will be returned back only after the payment is done. It was later settled by the producer within the said time.
Geetu also asked Stephy why she did not raise these allegations and file a complaint during the film’s release. She termed it as an act of defamation done at a time when there are attacks against WCC from several corners. Geetu concluded her post by adding that neither her nor anyone from her team had contacted Aisha Sultana for any kind of help.
Geetu’s Facebook post reads,
The post by my colleague, has put myself and my film team in distress, and for all our sakes its perhaps important to understand how to read this issue. Given that this matter of professional interest is now in public.
I tried to resist writing a reply to your allegations till now because my words to you as an individual and film maker should not in any way hurt you in your work space but the pressure games of patriarchy is so strong that I have yield! If not, I would not have been here to address an interpellated fellow being .
I would like to remind you of the actual narrative and version that transpired. In our last face to face meeting at my home, I remember we had parted ways amicably . As a director my work expectations were different to the outcomes produced by you and this was in my opinion communicated to you in person . I believe that it could be my mistake that I failed to inspire you to deliver better or maybe failed to see that you did not get a closure in the matter. The entire film was costume designed by Maxima Basu and in the interim when she went for her maternity leave is when I asked you to step in for a small portion. Our association was not fruitful and what ever the events that had transpired following your entry and exit was clearly observed by my entire cast and crew and they can vouch for the same .
The dialogue you mentioned – people who know me are well aware that I’m quite capable of such unwarranted anger and I’m certainly not proud of it. In fact I must have spoken far harshly than what you mentioned , but the circumstances in that conversation and what you said is absolutely false. I would like to remind you that there is a big misinformation of facts in your version . The discussion you mentioned was spoken to your assistant after my team informed me that the costumes which my designer, Maxima had made after your exit from the project was taken away by you without any of our knowledge from our studio . There was a state of panic since we had just two days left to leave to shoot. We were informed by your assistant that the costumes will not be returned until we settle your entire payment even though you had exited the project and none of your ideas let alone a costume was used in the film. For the time provided by your assistant, my producer had cleared all payments. In fact I called you in for a conversation repeatedly but you never reverted . If your allegations had any truth – why didn’t you register a complaint at the time before the film released last year ? I’m questioning the intent behind this defamation now which seems to be quite timely. So kindly observe that, this is exactly what we should not be doing to each other . Women lynching women. If my actions have hurt you I am still ready to meet you for a conversation . I wish you all the best .
A special request to all my closest industry friends – Please do not share this post in solidarity to me because we must collectively put an end to this virtual mob mentality and alienating people! I trust this post will resound to the right eyes and ears.
Photo Credits: Thammy Raman picture