The MeToo campaign has added yet another casualty to their list, as popular musician cum singer Anu Malik has been unceremoniously sacked from his post of the jury member at the singing reality show, Indian Idol following multiple allegations of sexual harassment leveled against him.
According to an official statement issued by Sony Entertainment Television, Anu Malik ‘is no longer a part of the Indian Idol jury panel.’ To quote the statement, ‘……………..The show will continue its planned schedule and we will invite some of the biggest names in Indian music as guests to join Vishal (Dadlani) and Neha (Kakkar) to judge the extraordinary talent of Indian Idol season 10………’
Anu Malik needs no special introduction. An eccentric, but iconic musician, he is known for his famous compositions in movies like ‘Judwaa’, ‘Border’, ‘Fiza’ to name a few. He has been with Indian Idol since its inception in 2004 as a jury member, and as such, his eviction wouldn’t be taken lightly by people. Before his eviction, Anu Malik was the one constant judge who could be seen in every Indian Idol season ever known to the Indian audience.
However, the MeToo campaign hasn’t been lenient on him either. Singer Shweta Pandit first accused him of sexually harassing her when she was just 15. She was backed up by singer Sona Mohapatra, who accused Anu Malik of behaving in a lewd way with her as well. Both narrated their odeal on their respective Twitter handles as follows:-
Had to go back to my worst memory as a teenage girl today to write this and speak up – its now or never. This is my #MeToo and have to warn young girls about #AnuMalik & let you know your #TimesUp @IndiaMeToo
Thank you @sonamohapatra for speaking up about him & supporting this pic.twitter.com/e261pGQyEq
— Shweta Pandit (@ShwetaPandit7) October 17, 2018
Matters turned worse for the musician when Danica D’Souza, ex assistant producer to Indian Idol, allegedly revealed to Mid Day that higher ups associated with Indian Idol were allegedly aware of Anu Malik’s shady behavior, but chose to ignore it. According to her, “………This incident occurred in Kolkata. One of our colleagues from the production crew was travelling with a cameraman and Malik in a car to get sound bites.
…………..When she returned, she looked traumatised and told us of the unfortunate incident. She said once they had wrapped up their work, Malik touched her thigh in the car, and felt her up. She was startled. The cameraman, who was sitting in the front seat, wasn’t aware of what was going on behind him,” Ms D’Souza told mid-day.
She also alleged Anu Malik would refer to her as “………darling, baby and sweety, which made her uncomfortable.” “They are well aware of his behaviour with women. I don’t know why they are still quiet,” she told mid-day, adding that she hopes the channel and production house take a stand against Anu Malik.
Keeping such accusations in mind, the makers of Indian Idol though it better to sack Anu Malik from his Indian position, though they’ve refrained from mentioning the exact reason in their statement.
On the other hand, Anu Malik has denied these accusations, terming them as baseless. According to the statement forwarded by his counsel, Zulfiqar Memon, “……….The allegations made against my client are emphatically denied as completely false and baseless. My client respects the #MeToo Movement but to use this movement to start a character assassination mission is obnoxious.”
Interestingly, Sameer Anjaan, the lyricist for the movie, during whose recording the incident allegedly happened, came out with his version of the events that actually happened, as reflected below:-
— Sameer (@SameerAnjaan) October 18, 2018
Whatever be the case, Anu Malik as of now is the latest casualty to the ever growing #MeToo campaign, that includes a list of known celebrities like Utsav Chakraborty, Tanmay Bhat, Alok Nath, Rajat Kapoor, Vikas Bahl, Subhash Ghai, Sajid Khan, M J Akbar etc. It is now upto the musician as to how he tries to come out clean on these allegations and prove his innocence. If he’s guilty, it’s all over. But if he’s not, it might cause trouble for those who accused him of the alleged crimes.
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