No denying in saying that Hindi film industry is packed with incidents of sexual harassments
Bollywood is always echoed with casting couch stories and sexual favors, which many celebrities have claimed to be part of. We often hear stories of sexual harassments at work places, but Bollywood – our own glittering colossal entertainment industry too is filled up with abundant of sagas relating to this evil practice which has started gaining strength now. Anu Malik, coveted music composer, from the outset has been under mammoth controversies of sexual harassment and even he had to face the music when popular songstress Alisha Chinai dragged him to the court for sexual harassment allegation in 90s era.
Alisha accused him of molestation charges. Chinai revealed in the media that she was molested by Mailk during the making of her hit track ‘Made in India’. Other popular female singers such as Sona Mohapatra, Neha Bhasin, Caralisa Monteiro and Shweta Pandit too have come up to raise their voice against the musician’s predatory behavior. Alisha, famous Indian pop and playback singer, rubbed her shoulders with all the female singers who built a strong voice against the composer saying “Every word said and written about Anu Malik is true. I stand by all the women who have finally spoken up. May they find peace and closure in their lives.”
Shweta, popular Bollywood vocalist, shared her experience on Twitter naming it the ‘worst memory’ of her life saying it was year 2000 when she got her break as a lead singer in ‘Mohabbatein’. Yash Raj Films’ movie gave her 5 songs to sing after she auditioned for the final selection among several singers. She was merely 14 at that time. To follow up with the success of the soundtracks she rendered in the film album, she needed to have more songs to keep pace with the instant success. She got a call from Malik’s then manager Mustafa to come to meet the musician at Empire Studio in Andheri, Mumbai. It was 2001 and Pandit got thrilled as all newcomers would be. She along with his mother stepped into the studio where Anu Malik was recording a song with Sunidhi Chauhan and Shaan for the film ‘Awara Pagal Deewana’.
Malik wanted to hear her voice, thus asked her to sing the title song for the film ‘Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega’ as a voice test. Being a splendid singer, Shweta sang it with conviction that impressed the composer and he could not help praising her voice. The composer said to Pandit “I will give you this song along with Sunidhi and Shaan but first give me a kiss now.” She was just 15 at that time and felt like someone had just stabbed her into her stomach. Shweta used to call her ‘Anu Uncle’, as he knew her family for decades.
Sona Mohapatra, one of the leading voices of Bollywood brigade, raised big voice on social platform such as Facebook and Instagram against the sexual predating of the music scorer. Mohapatra, in October 2018, accused not only Anu Malik but also singer Kailash Kher of sexual misconduct. Unzipping an incident involving Kailash, Sona uttered that once the singer placed his hand on her thigh and said “you are so beautiful, feel so good that a musician (her husband composer Ram Sampath) got you not an actor.” Sharing another incident of this kind, Mohapatra revealed that during a live concert, Kailash asked her to skip the soundcheck and join him in his room to ‘catch up’.
Sona, in her accusations against Malik and Kher, also accused Anu of passing a lecherous comment in presence of her husband. Mohapatra then also revealed that the composer would call her in odd hours asking her awkward questions.
Playback singer Sona Mohapatra was asked to leave Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, a reality show on which she was a judge because she provided Anu Malik publicity by raising her voice against his sexual predating and her actions took up TRPs of the rival TV show.
Malik had to leave the judge seat of the Indian Idol 10 after sexual harassments accusations emerged from all corners. But when he returned to the following season of the show in its 11th edition, Sona said “the sexual predator is back on the same seat”.
Joining in the bandwagon of the voices raised by the female singers against the sexual misconduct of the music composer, coveted playback vocalist Neha Bhasin accused of Malik of sexual pestering in a series of tweets. Malik’s return to the singing show as a judge in its 11th season set many on fire and it made the victims angry such as the likes of Sona Mohapatra, Shweta Pandit and Neha Bhasin. Neha uncovered the incident in which Anu Malik laid on a couch in front of her in a sexual style and praised for her eyes. She said she was just 21 when this incident took place. She further wrote in her tweet that she fled from the scene lying that her mother was waiting outside. Bhasin also said that Anu even later messaged and called her to which she stopped responding.
Caralisa Monteiro, best known for songs like ‘Dard-e-Disco’, ‘Mitwa’ and ‘Nashe Si Chadh Gayi’ also came up sharing her experience with Malik saying he insisted her to come to his house for a jam session, but since she was uncomfortable with him, she refused to turn up.
Two more anonymous women, who did not want their identities to be revealed, came up with their shocking experiences against the sexual harassment of the composer. An inspiring female singer told to the media that she met Malik in 1990 at Mehboob Studios. He rubbed against the vocalist and then apologized for his misbehavior. But soon he started behaving worse. Once she was at his home, he sat next to her on the sofa (his family was not at home). He lifted her skirt and dropped his pants. She tried to push him back and rushed out to the door, but he was too strong to hold her. Luckily for her, someone rang the bell and she slipped away instantly from his home. Later, he threatened the woman and asked her not to tell anyone of the incident. One day, while he was dropping her home, Anu again sexually harassed the girl in a deserted area. According to the singer, it was around 8:30 p.m. when Malik drove into a dark empty place. He unzipped his pants and asked her to lick him. The female singer told him ‘no’ and urged him to let her go. Instead, Malik pulled her hair and stuffed her face in his lap and abused her. A guard out there approached to the car, it gave the singer courage to escape.
Another vocalist spoke of a meeting with Anu Malik taken place in a studio where he asked the singer to come wearing a chiffon saree next time. Upon learning that the girl had no boyfriend, the composer hugged her tightly. On realizing that the recording studio was sound proof, she pushed him away and said that he was happy with his wife and a sensitive man. This budding singer later refused participating in Indian Idol Season 10 when she got to know about Anu Malik on a judge seat.
Many from the industry came up in support of Malik such as Hema Sardesai, Sonu Nigam, Vishal Dadlani and Neha Kakkar. On the other hand, Anu’s lawyer also denied all allegations terming them false and baseless.
The truth has to be taken out whatever it is. On the other hand, the fact remains that Bollywood is laced with such activities like sexual harassments, sexual favors and casting couch. Many newcomers obey the demands and the others (who don’t) raise their voice.