Trigger Warning: The following article contains details about sexual assault and violence. The details may be traumatic for survivors. Reader discretion is advised.
Director Sajid Khan, one among Bollywood’s top brass, has been accused of sexual harassment by at least four women, even as the #MeToo movement gained momentum across the country. Following the allegations, Sajid Khan stepped down as the director of Housefull 4 on 12 October.
ANI confirms that Nana Patekar followed suit and bowed out of the film following sexual harassment allegations by Tanushree Dutta, that triggered the #MeToo movement in India.
Nana saheb thought of the convenience of everybody as he wishes the best for the producer & the crew & hence felt that stepping out of the project would be an appropriate thing to do at this point of time: Malhar Nana Patekar, son of #NanaPatekar— ANI (@ANI) October 12, 2018
Model-actor Saloni Chopra, in a long post on Medium, levelled allegations on Khan, apart from also naming Vikas Bahl and Zain Durrani. Journalist Karishma Upadhyay and actor Rachel White too levelled accusations against Khan.
The latest woman to accuse Sajid Khan of sexual misconduct is actor Simran Suri, who in a tweet alleged that the director called her to his Juhu home and asked her to strip.
I kept thinking all these years @whitespeaking to talk about this a## @SimplySajidK and what stopped me was that nobody would listen. He did exactly the same with me while he was casting for Himmatwala. Called me to his juju house and asked me to strip. https://t.co/BSNnMFjv9K— Simran Suri (@29simran) October 12, 2018
While Twinkle Khanna took to Twitter exhorting the Housefull 4 team to take a firm stance, Akshay Kumar, the lead of the film wrote, “I’ve requested the producers to cancel the shoot until further investigation.”
Appalled hearing multiple incidents of harassment and it is truly horrific to hear what these women have been through. Everyone involved in Housefull needs to take a firm stance on this issue. This cannot go on.— Twinkle Khanna (@mrsfunnybones) October 12, 2018
Here are the accounts of the women who have accused Sajid Khan.
I finally decided to share my story with you. Writing this was like re-living all that horrible past I’d chosen to let go of, but I knew if I don’t today, I may never. So here’s #metoo #MetooIndia https://t.co/brouTYIBC7— Saloni Chopra (@redheadchopra) October 11, 2018
According to Chopra’s post, her ordeal with Khan dates back to 2011, when she was working as an assistant director. She recounted multiple instances of sexual, mental and emotional abuse by Khan, where he allegedly forced her to send him photos of herself in a bikini, also called her late into the night under the pretense of work.
When Chopra eventually grew tired of Khan’s harassment, she supposedly confronted him.
"“I was so tired of his behaviour that even my fear of him wasn’t enough to shut me up. He started yelling at me and claimed that I was so naive and stupid if I thought this was just about sex. This wasn’t about sex, it was about me being his little b***h and doing everything he told me to do. He’d name directors that keep actresses at their homes for months and thats just how this works.”"
Chopra then says that she hung up on him, and subsequently quit after the ordeal. However, when she told others in the industry of her experience, she was laughed off by many.
"“It took me years to get over the trauma he put me through. I was so scared around the people I worked with. And I’m sure he’s done this to so many other girls, I just want them to know they’re not alone. It’s been 7 years, and it’s about time I said it out loud.”"
Rachel White also replied to Chopra with her #MeToo story.
“I was in a white vest and blue denims and still felt I was standing nude with that gaze. What happens next is that he finishes his cardio and walks up to me asking me about my boobs and making that kind of conversation. I didn’t bother to answer to anything,” she wrote. He allegedly went a step further and asked her to strip since the film he was casting for required her to wear a bikini. White declined and said that while she was happy to parade his office in a bikini but not at his home.
The second person to accuse Khan of sexual harassment was Karishma Upadhyay, a journalist who writes for Firstpost, among other publications.
She shared an alleged incident of Khan sexually assaulting her whilst an interview. Khan allegedly exposed himself to her during an interview, forcibly kissed her and did not allow her to leave.
. Read more on Celebrities by The Quint.Sona Mohapatra Calls out Kailash Kher, Anu Malik for Harassment After Sajid Khan, Nana Patekar Bows Out of ‘Housefull 4’ . Read more on Celebrities by The Quint.