The #MeToo movement which kick started in Hollywood a few years ago made its way to India last year. Actress Tanushree Dutta was the first one from Bollywood to open up about incidents of sexual misconduct that she faced at the hands of co-star and veteran actor Nana Patekar. This prompted other women working in the industry – not just the actresses – to come out and share their horrible experiences as well. They decided to name and shame the predators. Some of the names that popped up during the rise of the movement included that of filmmaker Vikas Behl, actor Alok Nath and director Sajid Khan.
While none of the accused have faced any legal repurcussions, actor Chunky Panday, who earlier worked with Sajid in 2010’s Housefull has now come out to support the filmmaker. “Sajid has always been a very, very outspoken person. He has always been this flamboyant person. With him, what you see is what you get. And a lot of people might misunderstand him,” he said. “Sajid says things for effect; he doesn’t mean them. The allegations came as a shock to everyone but it was the season of #MeToo and everyone was getting exposed.” Chunky added that there was a lot of pressure to drop him from Housefull 4 which is why Farhad Samji decided to take over.
Following the allegations last year, The Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association suspended Sajid. Actor Akshay Kumar at the time also tweeted that he would not work with “any proven offenders”. The 52-year-old star stated that victims of sexual harassment need to be heard and given justice. Filmmaker and Sajid’s cousin, Farhan Akhtar also commented on the allegations. He said, “On the first day when three women came out and spoke, I felt it was important for me to speak out. Being my brother, I need to now work with Sajid and try to figure out how he can see this thing through and how it is that he can make the women who have been affected by his actions, feel better.”