The #MeToo movement has created a storm in India — something that was awaited ever since women in the West started speaking out against the sexual harassment they faced at the hands of powerful men in the industry. As the movement has gained momentum in the country, several big names have been accused of sexual misconduct by various women across the fields. The latest name to have shaken up the Hindi film industry after Nana Patekar, Subhash Kapoor, Alok Nath, and others is that of filmmaker Sajid Khan. The Humshakals director has been accused of sexual abuse by an actress and a few journalists. After the allegations surfaced against him, Farhan Akhtar and Akshay Kumar slammed the behaviour and mentioned that action should be taken against him if he is found guilty.
Now, Dia Mirza has also expressed her horror at the various stories that have come out about Sajid Khan. In an interview with India Today, she said that she knew that he was always obnoxious, extremely sexist and ridiculous. She further said that she never invested in a relationship with him even at a workplace.
She said, “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 who made a cameo in Sajid Khan’s film Heyy Babyy (2007) was aware of Sajid’s inappropriate behaviour but never thought that he is capable of crossing the boundaries. She said, “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 are shocking.”
Talking about the silence that Bollywood fraternity has maintained, she said it is mainly because of the relationship they share with these people. “It’s a deeply bewildering time for a lot of people. I don’t think anyone saw it coming. It is shameful that we didn’t see it coming. Most are silent mainly because of the relationship that they share with these people.” She added.
Dia also adds that there are few more faces of Bollywood who will get unmasked in the coming weeks. She said, “ What this display is our refusal to acknowledge how deep the culture of patriarchy runs in our society and workplace. Many names have come up in the last few weeks, which have not surprised women.”
When Dia was asked if she has ever been the victim of sexual harassment, she said, “Fortunately, I have never been a victim of sexual harassment. But there have been instances where I have lost out on work or people have shown disinterest in working with me because I was unwilling to succumb to this unspoken understanding of patriarchy.”
Meanwhile, Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association is taking a hard stand against him.
“Your lewd and obscene actions have brought disrepute to Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association. We, therefore, want an explanation from you for such offensive behaviour within seven days of receipt of the notice for further action as per the rules and regulations,” said the letter, signed by IFTDA president Ashoke Pandit.
Actress Bipasha Basu has also come out and spoken against Sajid Khan. She said that she has vowed to never work with the filmmaker after Humshakals because of his ‘lewd jokes and comments on the sets’ for women.
With the #MeToo movement going on full swing, many stories have been coming out related to Bollywood stars and their abuse of power and sexual harassment.