This past month has been an eye-opener with respect to the gritty, dark underbelly of Bollywood. With multiple women opening up about men across the industry who have been using their power to sexually exploit them, the international #MeToo movement is finally taking India by storm.
It all started with Tanushree Dutta who opened up about the harassment she faced at the hands of Nana Patekar on the sets of Horn Ok Pleassss. Post these allegations, B-town's big names like Alok Nath, Sajid Khan, Vikas Bahl, Anirban Blah have been named and shamed in the #MeToo storm too.
As we know, Anu Malik is also one of the big names, which have surfaced over the course of a month. The Bollywood singer and composer has been called out as a sexual offender by six women from the film fraternity. Singers Sona Mohapatra and Shweta Pandit, along with two anonymous women, have come forward and shared their harrowing tales earlier... and lately, two more women have spoken up.
Image Source: Instagram
One unnamed woman spoke to Mid-Day and said that Anu Malik, who she met in 1990, shamelessly rubbed against her. Even though he apologised then, things got even worse when they had to collaborate on a fundraiser later and had to visit his residence. The victim opened up about the episode, saying, "I realised I was trapped as his family was not at home. He then lifted my skirt and dropped his pants. I thought of pushing him and rushing out the door, but he was too strong for me. Luckily, the doorbell rang at that moment."
He then threatened her and warned her not to tell anyone. He got even more aggressive while dropping her home. She continued, "It was around 8.30pm when he drove into a dark, empty maidan. Scared, I asked him where we were. But he simply unzipped his pants and asked me to lick him! I told him no and urged him to let me go, but he pulled me by my hair and stuffed my face in his lap, hurling abuses."
Thankfully, a guard approached the car soon after and she opened the door to escape.
Image Source: Shutterstock
Another survivour said she met Anu Malik in a studio where he asked her to wear a chiffon saree. He told her that she must be lonely since she has no boyfriend. When she tried to leave he hugged her. She spoke about the incident, saying, "Panic struck me as I realised the recording studio was sound-proof and no one would hear me even if I screamed. I pushed him away and said, 'What do you think you're doing?' The sick pervert immediately broke into his presumably rehearsed line: 'No, I am happy with my wife, I am a sensitive man!'"
Prior to these allegations, Shweta Pandit had already revealed she was only 15 and still a minor when Malik asked her to kiss him in a studio. While, Sona Mohapatra called him out as a "serial predator".
Anu Malik's lawyer, however, gave a statement saying that the allegations are false and baseless and that this "character assassination mission is obnoxious".
Image Source: India Today
In the light of these claims as part of the #MeToo wildfire, Malik, who has been a recurring judge on singing show, Indian Idol, alongside Vishal Dadlani and Neha Kakkar, has been asked to step down. The channel hasn't made an official announcement yet - but Malik may not be present in the episodes to come.
A former staffer of the production team has revealed that she is aware of more women Anu Malik has harrassed. New York based producer, Danica D'Souza has also stated that Malik's predatory bahaviour was an open secret on the sets of Indian Idol and even the higher ups knew about it, however, they chose to turn a blind eye to it.
This is the power of the #MeToo movement. Years of predatory behaviour is being called out and the castles of male privilege that men have been sitting on are quaking brick by brick.
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