Bollywood director Sajid Khan has stepped down from the upcoming comedy Housefull 4 after being accused of sexual harassment by a journalist and two actresses. 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.
Khan said he was pulling out of the project following “the pressure being put” on his family (including his sister, director Farah Khan), the stars of Housefull 4 and the producers. The movie’s cast includes Nana Patekar, who has been accused by actress Tanushree Dutta of harassment during a film shoot.
Farah Khan, the director of Main Hoon Na, Om Shanti Om and Happy New Year, said if the allegations were true, her brother “had a lot to atone for”.
Khan’s announcement came in the wake of allegations of misconduct and harassment by journalist Karishma Upadhyay and actress Saloni Chopra. Earlier in the day, Housefull 4 lead actor Akshay Kumar issued a statement that he had asked for the production to be halted after the allegations against Khan surfaced. “This is something that requires stringent action,” Kumar said. “I will not work with any proven offenders and all those who have been subjugated to harassment should be heard and given the justice they deserve.”
Khan has previously directed Heyy Babyy (2007), Himmatwala (2013) and Humshakals (2014). On Thursday, actress Rachel White alleged through her Twitter account that Khan had told her that if she could “seduce him in 5 mins”, she would get a role in his next film.