The rising #MeToo movement has Bollywood smack dab in the center of its radar. An industry where sexual misconduct and exploitation are openly rampant, this doesn’t come as a surprise. The good thing, however, is that more and more women are finding the courage to come forth and point out their harassers, irrespective of how big a stature they hold in the industry.
Director Sajid Khan is one of the accused, with three women levelling sexual harassment allegations against him.
In addition, a few other actress who’ve worked with him, like Bipasha Basu, Amrita Puri and Esha Gupta, have also revealed that he made them feel uncomfortable, or that they were aware of his notorious reputation.
Actress Dia Mirza, who worked with Sajid Khan when she made a cameo in ‘Heyy Baby’, has reacted to the allegations against him.
According to India Today, she claims she was aware of Sajid being ridiculous and sexist. And yet, the survivors’ accounts are shocking.
“I was deeply disturbed. I agree that Sajid was obnoxious, extremely sexist and ridiculous. Even for me, the details of these accounts are beyond shocking. I have personally always have had a radar for such people. I have never invested in a relationship with such people even in the workplace.”
Dia blames these incidents on the deep-rooted patriarchy that is rampant in the society. And she is sure that there are a lot more names to be added to Bollywood’s list of offenders.
She believes many people are still silent because they do not want to destroy the relationships they have within the industry.
“We often brush off certain kind of behaviour. But I wouldn’t have imagined that Sajid could be capable of doing this to a woman. I completely understand the shock people are feeling right now, but it would be unfair to say that the names that are coming out is shocking.”
For now, Sajid has stepped down as director of Housefull 4 after the allegations surfaced. His family, including sister Farah Khan Kunder and cousin Farhan Akhtar have decided to support the survivors, and expressed shock over their brother’s behaviour.
More names are getting added to the list, and more apologies are being issued. However, it is evident that several big names in the industry are still silent about their peers and might probably not call them out from fear of disrupting their relationships. The shock value, then, might not be as believable.