If anyone had any doubts over filmmaker Sajid Khan being guilty of sexually harassing and speaking abusively to women, they have all been laid to rest now. Three women from the film industry have come up with a new set of allegations against the director. Saloni Chopra, Rachel White and Karishma Upadhyay have accused Sajid Khan of continuously harassing them, both sexually and mentally, while he continued to act nonchalantly in public life.
In their ordeal, as narrated to news portals ABP News and India Today, the three victims accused Sajid Khan of being a serial offender. According to Saloni Chopra, once the assistant director to Sajid Khan for his Housefull franchise’s first two movies, the director would be extremely mean with her. The rudeness ranged from asking lewd questions to verbally abusing her if she ‘didn’t do his bidding.’ The director continued this harassing behavior throughout the duration for which Saloni worked with him.
Her allegations were seconded by Karishma Upadhyay, who alleged that Sajid often referred obnoxiously to his private parts in his interviews with her, and also kept on sexually harassing her on the same lines as Saloni. He even tried to sexually assault her once, an attempt which she narrowly escaped. She was backed up by Rachel White, who also narrated her ordeal, accusing Sajid of asking her to strip down and seduce him in order to get a role.
The allegations of the trio have now received strong backing from actresses Dia Mirza and Bipasha Basu, who have opened up on the director’s behavior with them on sets. To quote Dia, who had a cameo role in Sajid Khan’s debut film ‘Heyy Babyy’, “……..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.”
Bipasha was unequivocally critical about Sajid Khan on the same issue. While she denied having faced any harassment on a personal level, she did find his behavior ‘obnoxious and lewd’ when shooting for ‘Humshakals’. To quote her, “…………….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 towards women that would disturb me on set- he cracked lewd jokes openly and was pretty rude to all girls.
………I was told by all not to say anything to him and stoop to his level- so I quietly finished my work as a professional and explained my stance to the producers, that I couldn’t associate myself with this film anymore as I could lose my temper any moment.”
Bipasha Basu denied having faced any harassing behavior herself from Sajid, stating that she wouldn’t have tolerated it in the first place, as reflected in her reply to a user on Twitter:
He never tried anything with me… otherwise I would have spoken in 2014 only. I have a very strong voice.Will never tolerate disrespect.
— Bipasha Basu (@bipsluvurself) October 12, 2018
These statements from mainstream, lead actresses prove that there was a certain crassness in Sajid Khan and a certain lewdness in his behavior towards girls. The allegations strongly indicate that Sajid Khan was a repeat offender who shamelessly continued his harassing behavior on his juniors and colleagues, as other elites from the Bollywood fraternity stood watching silently. These allegations and statements against Sajid Khan are the reason why Akshay Kumar and his co-stars have opted to back out from ‘Housefull 4’.
However, this does not mean that Akshay Kumar and others have decided to back out from ‘Housefull 4’ because of the involvement of Nana Patekar. The allegations against Sajid Khan and back up comments from actresses like Dia Mirza and Bipasha Basu signify that there is something terribly disturbing in the way Sajid Khan was allowed to have a free run on the sets and behind the closed doors of Bollywood.
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