After being removed from Indian Idol because of a sexual harassment allegation during the surge of the #MeToo movement last year in India, composer Anu Malik is set to return again on the same show as a judge.
Times Now reports that last year Anu Malik was one among the many celebs who were accused of sexual harassment during the #MeToo movement. He was accused of sexual misconduct by singer Shweta Pandit. Calling him a paedophile, Shweta had stated that he assaulted her when she was 15 and had asked for a kiss.
For those unaware of the facts, Shweta Pandit had posted a long note accusing Anu Malik of sexual assault. Her note read:
“It has taken a lot in me to open up this wound again and speak up against this paedophile and sexual predator. It was the year 2000 when I was launched as a lead singer with #Mohabbatein (was the youngest singer back then in the Indian music industry) and was trying to get other good songs to follow up with the success of that soundtrack and the outstanding welcome it gave me in the music industry. I got a call from Anu Malik’s then manager (Mustafa) to come to #empirestudio in Andheri sometime in mid-2001. I was thrilled like any singer would be. I used to admire his music and practice his songs for hours and look upto him back then! He was recording a group song with Sunidhi and Shaan for the film Awara Pagal Deewana, when my mother and I walked in the monitor room. He told me to wait in the small cabin inside where singers sang at Empire studio. It was just him and me there.”
“He asked me to sing something without any music as he wanted to hear my voice. I remember I sang the title song of har dil jo pyar karega as a voice test for this man. I sang it well so he said, ;I’ll give you this song with Sunidhi and Shaan but first give me a kiss now.' He then smiled, what I’d recall the most evil grin I have seen. I went numb and pale in the face. I was only 15 years old then, still in school. Can anyone even imagine what it felt that moment? It felt like someone had just stabbed me in my stomach. I referred to this man as 'Anu uncle', he knew my entire family for decades and knew us as a respected gharana of musicians for generations who have given our entire lives dedicated to music for 4 generations.
He addressed my father as “Mandheer bhai”. And he does this to his bhai’s daughter? He has 2 young daughters of his own and that’s how he treated a 15-year-old minor girl. It was the worst experience of my life and I could never speak about it even to my parents. I could never ask any help to heal but was depressed for months. I cried endlessly after this incident and it affected my psyche as a young girl, so much that I could have left the industry but I re-thought and fought with my will-power that why should I leave my greatest passion for a paedophile like him but I still kept struggling for years to bury this inside me. I am sure many singers have been exploited by him as he is a known name for doing this to singers. I’d urge those singers/women to share their stories too."
At that time, when Anu Malik was asked about these accusations, he had told PTI, "No comments. This is ridiculous. I don’t want to talk about it. Today anyone says anything."
Apart from Shweta Pandit's accusation, several other women have come forward and accused Anu Malik of the sexual harassment. After the allegations, Anu Malik, who at that time was one of the judges of Indian Idol 10, was fired mid-season. Later, singer Sonu Nigam and lyricist Sameer Anjaan had come out in support of him. And now we hear that he will be making a comeback as one of the judges for the season 11 of one of India's biggest singing reality shows.
While the air date of Indian Idol 11 is not confirmed, ZoomTV.com has it that Anu Malik will be back. Anu Malik has been the face of Indian Idol since its first season and while many celebs have co-judged the show, he has been constant, reports Times Now.