Putting his weight behind the #MeToo campaign, Akshay Kumar has asked the producers of Housefull 4 to “cancel the shoot until further investigation.” The decision was in the wake of charges of sexual misconduct against the film’s director Sajid Khan.
Sajid Khan has been accused of sexual harassment by actresses Rachel White and Saloni Chopra and journalist Karishma Upadhyay. Saloni Chopra took to Twitter to write about the time she was looking to assist a director. In the post she writes how the director asked her uncomfortable questions: “He asks questions like ‘do you masturbate?’ and ‘how many times a week?’ he also asked me if I’d ever been sexually abused, I said yes. Then he asked weird questions like if I would ever get a breast job, and talked about how sex is really a mental connection.” The interview was just the beginning of the abuse and once Saloni became the ‘directors assistant’ things got worse. She writes: “When I first started working for Sajid, he said I was a ‘director’s assistant’ and not an ‘assistant director’ which apparently meant that I’d have to do his work directly.” Following Saloni’s tweet, actress Rachel White also opened up about a similar abuse from Sajid. Replying to Saloni, Rachel narrated how she was asked to strip in his home on the pretext that the film required her to don a bikini. When she refused, he kept insisting. “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,” she added.
Even journalist Karishma Upadhyay who had the misfortune of interviewing Sajid Khan in early 2000s narrated her story, “Thru the interview he talked about how large his penis is and how he knew how to satisfy a woman. He walked out of the room to show me some DVD from his collection. When he returned, his penis was out.” According to a source, “The film has been stalled for now and the entire star cast is packing their bags to return to Mumbai. The last schedule of the film was to be shot in Mumbai and now it seems the film will be put on hold till things get clear.” The source further added, “Also considering the fact that Housefull 4 is a big budget films, the producers may get some other director on board to complete the shooting. However, no official confirmation has come out from the makers yet.”
Twinkle Khanna tweeted saying, “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.”
In his defense, Sajid Khan also put up a Twitter post in which he confirms stepping down from the directorial position of Housefull 4 ‘till the time I can allay the allegations and prove the truth’. Apart from Akshay Kumar, none of the cast members of Housefull 4 have taken a stand on this matter.
Subhash Ghai accused of rape
The latest addition to the ever-growing list of men accused of sexual harassment is Taal filmmaker Subhash Ghai. According to an anonymous post shared by writer Mahima Kukreja, Ghai behaved inappropriately with a female colleague on more occasions than one he frequently invited her to his home, forcefully kissed her, and even spiked her drink before having his way with her in a hotel room.The accuser says that she brought the incidents to the attention of the Ghai’s first assistant director and two other women, but decided not to pursue the matter out of fear of losing her job. Meanwhile, Ghai brushed it off as a “lover’s tiff”. When asked for his comment on the allegations, 73-year-old Ghai told PTI, “It is sad that it is becoming a fashion to malign anyone known, bringing some stories from past without any truth or blown up false allegations if all. I deny strictly and firmly all false allegations like these.” He has also threatened to file a case of defamation against the woman making these claims.
Sex pest Suhel Seth
Marketing consultant, author Suhel Seth, popular for giving his expert holier-than-thou comments on current topics, has been exposed by multiple women for his sexual misconduct. Natasha Rathore has posted a detailed account of her traumatic experience with Suhel where he took her home to discuss work and then made sexual advances, in a drunken state. She wrote, “You used your power to take me home.. You then threw yourself at me although I was clearly uncomfortable. You shoved your tongue in my throat even when I resisted I whacked your head and said ‘behave yourself’. You put your hand into my kurta and grabbed my breast.” Her post had more details of Suhel’s disgusting behaviour. Reacting to Natasha’s post, Mandakini Gahlot, tweeted, “I am not at all surprised that Suhel Seth’s name has come up in the #MeToo conversation. For years he has preyed on young women, and the whisper network was ripe with stories of his depravity. I was 26 when he publicly harassed and humiliated me. No one stopped him.”
Saloni Chopra’s post: He asks questions like ‘do you masturbate?’ and ‘how many times a week?’ he also asked me if I’d ever been sexually abused.Then he asked weird questions like if I would ever get a breast job. When I first started working for Sajid, he said I was a ‘director’s assistant’ and not an ‘assistant director’..
Journalist Karishma Upadhyay’s post: Thru the interview he talked about how large his penis is and how he knew how to satisfy a woman. He walked out of the room to show me some DVD from his collection. When he returned, his penis was out i got up to leave him immediately only to find him blocking the way out.
Twinkle Khanna: 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.