Two women on Thursday accused Bollywood director Sajid Khan of sexual harassment. Freelance journalist Karishma Upadhyay, 41, alleged that Khan sexually assaulted her during an interview in the early 2000s when she was a reporter at the Bombay Times. Upadhyay claimed Khan exposed his genitals to her when she was interviewing him. She said he also tried to forcibly kiss her. “I got back to my office and wrote his interview because that was my job,” Upadhyay said.
Model-actor Saloni Chopra also accused Khan of sexual harassment in 2011 when she was working as his assistant director. Chopra recounted multiple instances of sexual harassment.
She alleged that Khan would initially call her up at odd hours and ask her to send pictures of herself. Eventually, it turned into mental and emotional torture, said Chopra. “He’d ask me to come stay over at his house and I’d find whatever excuse I could to not go. This wasn’t about sex, it was about me being his little bit** and doing everything he told me to do. He said he wants me to do everything he tells me to… No one would cast me unless I was ready to be their ‘keep’.”
Chopra said after months of this ordeal, she quit the job. “It took me years to get over the trauma he put me through. I was so scared around the people I worked with. And I’m sure he’s done this to so many other girls, I just want them to know they’re not alone. It’s been 7 years, and it’s about time I said it out loud,” she added.
After the allegations, Khan stepped down from the upcoming comedy Housefull 4. The movie, produced by Sajid Nadiadwala and being distributed by Fox Star Studios, is the latest entry in a franchise that began in 2010. Khan has directed two of the previous three films.
Scroll.in has sought a response from Khan. The story will be updated if he responds.
#MeToo in India
The allegations come at a time when several women, including journalists, have taken to social media to give detailed accounts of the sexual harassment and misconduct they faced. The campaign, being called the #MeToo movement in India, has taken the media fraternity by storm as several senior journalists, writers and media professionals have been accused of misconduct.
Director Vikas Bahl, former Hindustan Times political editor Prashant Jha, actor Rajat Kapoor, Kashmiri journalist Fahad Shah, minister MJ Akbar, and stand-up comedian Utsav Chakraborty are among those who have been accused of sexual misconduct in the past few days.
Earlier this week, writer, director and producer Vinta Nanda accused Alok Nath of raping her 19 years ago. Actors Sandhya Mridul and Deepika Amin have also alleged that Nath sexually harassed them. Two journalists have accused actor and filmmaker Rajat Kapoor of sexual misconduct.
This article includes only those accounts in which the women have chosen to name themselves and their alleged harassers or in cases which there have been multiple accusations against one person. Scroll.in reporters are continuing to report the story, including efforts to corroborate and cover the cases where the women have chosen to be anonymous.