In 2017, Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano encouraged women to spread the word about the #MeToo movement so that sexual crimes against women could get more attention globally. Within a year, the movement gained momentum in India as well and the nation's rage flared when actress Tanushree Dutta outed Nana Patekar in 2018 for harassing her on the sets of Horn Ok Please. Soon after, Bollywood and the media industry witnessed a wave of courage as several women came forward to call out their predators and share their sexual harassment stories that included power play at work.
In 2018, Sajid Khan was accused by three women of sexual assault and harassment. And now, the Housefull director has once again surfaced in the news as late actress Jiah Khan's sister, Karishma Khan, has accused him of harassing the actress in a BBC documentary. Actress Sherlyn Chopra has also come forward and accused the filmmaker of sexual misconduct, sharing details of the incident. Here's an update of everything that's going on:
Late actress Jiah Khan's death in 2013 shocked all her fans and the entire Bollywood industry. Recently, BBC made a three-part documentary based on the Nishabd actress' tragic demise called The Death In Bollywood. The documentary released on January 11 on BBC Two for the UK audience but is currently unavailable in India. However, a video clip from the documentary has been doing rounds on the internet where the late actress' sister has accused Sajid of sexual misconduct. Here's the video uploaded by a Twitter user on the micro-blogging site.
Reminder that Sajid Khan is not in jail yet. pic.twitter.com/cZ5I8Rrys0— Sidd (@siddanthdaily) January 18, 2021
Karishma narrated the incident and said, "When she was asked by Sajid Khan to take her top off, she came home and cried. She said, ‘I have a contract, so if I leave, they can sue me and slander my name. If I stay, then I am sexually harassed.’ It was a lose-lose situation."
After Karishma's video surfaced, actress Sherlyn Chopra also came forward and accused the Hamshakals director of sexual harassment. In a series of tweets and in a recent interview, the actress said, "In April 2005, I lost my father and after a few days, I went to Sajid Khan's place to discuss a film role. I wanted to keep myself busy with work so that I could forget the pain of losing a parent. When I went to meet him, he randomly asked me to touch his private parts. I told him that it's not right and I left his place. I was terrified by that incident and all these years, I was blaming myself, thinking that I shouldn't have gone there to meet him. I feel meeting him is one of the unfortunate events of my life. I have decided to talk about it because if not me then some other woman would have gone through such an incident, so I feel it's my responsibility to show his true side to people"
I was emotionally broken at the time as in early April 2005, I had lost my father, late Dr. Prem Sagar Chopra. A few days after my father’s demise, I was called for a meeting by the filmmaker. Little did I know that the meeting would be centred around his penis! https://t.co/c4oqdIUnTl— Sherni (@SherlynChopra) January 19, 2021
Sherlyn called the director a 'habitual offender' and demanded a public apology for the same. She also added, "People tell me I am an adult content creator, so I should be okay with these things. I want to tell those stupid people that if a woman is an adult content creator or a prostitute, actor, married or unmarried or from any other walk of life, her opinion matters the most in such things, otherwise you have no right to go ahead with it. I want to tell such people to grow up and change their mindset when you deal with women."
In 2018, assistant director Saloni Chopra had also shared her story via a blog while journalist Karishma Upadhyay and actress Rachel White shared their accounts of harassment via tweets on the micro-blogging site. This is what they said:
Saloni worked with Sajid in 2011 and said that it was "the most awful experience of my life." The MTV Girls On Top actress revealed in her blog that the director tortured her mentally, would ask for inappropriate questions about her sexual habits, and made derogatory comments on her looks. Here's what she tweeted:
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
After Saloni Chopra, actress Rachel White came forward with her story and revealed in a series of tweets that Sajid Khan called her for a meeting at home and asked her to strip. She wrote in one of the tweets, "Finally he goes 'listen no one has a problem with these things' (and obviously named people) and that if I could seduce him in 5 mins the role was mine. How this ended was me saying that I didn’t come mentally prepared for this and I left his house!"
Actress Mandana Karimi revealed a similar incident and said, "I was in talks for Sajid Khan's Humshakals at the casting stage. My manager and I visited his office. After meeting producer Vashu Bhagnani, I was in a room with Sajid, when he said, 'Lovely pictures but you need to remove your clothes. If I like what I see, you might get the part."
Finally he goes “listen no one has a problem with these things” (and obviously named people) and that if I could seduce him in 5 mins the role was mine.— Rachel White (@whitespeaking) October 11, 2018
How this ended was me saying that I didn’t come mentally prepared for this and I left his house!
Journalist Karishma Upadhyay accused Sajid Khan in 2018 of sexual harassment and flashing. She said, "Through the interview he talked about how large his p**** is and how he knew how to satisfy a woman. I ignored his trash talk and got back on track with my interview. He walked out of the room to show me some DVD from his collection. When he returned, his p**** was out. I got up to leave immediately only to find him blocking the way out. And, he forced his tongue down my throat. I pushed him away and ran out."
Model Dimple Paul also shared her story on her Instagram handle and accused Sajid of sexual misconduct when she was 17 years old.
Bollywood actresses like Bipasha Basu, Dia Mirza, and Ahana Kumra had also accused Sajid Khan of making lewd and inappropriate jokes that would make them uncomfortable. Bipasha said, "I am glad that women are speaking up about the atrocities of these men with power and clout... but nothing of that sort happened with me...it was just his general attitude toward women that would disturb me on set--he cracked lewd jokes openly and was pretty rude to all girls."
I am glad that women are speaking up about the atrocities of these men with power and clout... but nothing of that sort happened with me...it was just his general attitude toward women that would disturb me on set- he cracked lewd jokes openly and was pretty rude to all girls .— Bipasha Basu (@bipsluvurself) October 12, 2018
Sajid Khan has not issued any official statement on the recent accusations.
If you want to report a case of sexual harassment or misconduct, please call on these helplines:
1091 - Women's Helpline
112 - All India Emergency Helpline
Featured Image: Instagram