#Metoo
The Housefull director allegedly harassed two actresses and a journalist, they recounted in posts online.

In the ongoing #MeToo movement that has taken India by storm, the latest name to be outed is filmmaker Sajid Khan. The Housefull franchise director was accused by model and actor Saloni Chopra of sexual harassment and abuse in a Medium blog posted on Thursday. He has also been accused of sexual misconduct by a freelance Bollywood journalist and by actor Rachel White in a separate incident.

In the heart-wrenching account, Saloni recalls how, in 2011, Sajid Khan, under whom she was working as an assistant, allegedly emotionally abused her, sexually harassed her and undermined her acting abilities.

Saloni’s story

It began with Sajid asking Saloni sexually-coloured questions which made her very uncomfortable. He then went on to call her at all odd hours, expecting her to be available.

“If I didn’t pick up I was told it didn’t matter to him if I was shitting or showering or having sex, when he called — I had to answer. I was petrified. The calls started coming at 12 am and 2 am. […] He’d ask me what I’m wearing or what I ate. He’d ask me to send him my bikini photos because he needed to know how I looked if I wanted to become an actor,” Saloni said.

Saloni accused Sajid of emotionally and mentally torturing her. He told her she didn’t have it in her to become an actor because she wasn’t sexy enough, did not sit properly, wasn’t alluring or girly enough and so on. Sajid allegedly said that she would take Saloni under his wing and make her an actor. “A part of me wanted it so bad that I kept working for him, and excusing his behaviour whenever I could,” Saloni said.

Sajid apparently also spoke ill of his girlfriend at the time and would talk about the size of his penis. “He’d talk about his d*** and how big it apparently is and his sexual needs. He would ask me to touch his d*** and get irritated with me when I said I didn’t want to,” Saloni wrote. He would also ask Saloni to stay at his house.

After months, Saloni, who was fed up of the abuse, asked Sajid when he called her what he wanted. That if he wanted to sleep with her, she would do it and get it over with. “I was so tired of his behaviour that even my fear of him wasn’t enough to shut me up. He started yelling at me and claimed that I was so naive and stupid if I thought this was just about sex. This wasn’t about sex, it was about me being his little b***h and doing everything he told me to do. He’d name directors that keep actresses at their homes for months and that’s just how this works,” Saloni recounted.

When Saloni asked him again what he wanted, he allegedly said that she should do whatever he wanted her to, including sexual favours. “But it would be up to him what he wanted and if I thought casting couch was just about one-time sex then I was foolish. No one would cast me unless I was ready to be their ‘keep,’” Saloni wrote.

That night Saloni hung up on him and told her mother everything. She was terrified when she went to work on set the next day. And while Sajid acted as though nothing had happened initially, he eventually called Saloni to his cabin and asked her to write about him for a newspaper that wanted to profile him. “We didn’t talk about anything else, up until he pointed at the way I sat and snapped at me. ‘Spread your legs when you sit!’ I said I didn’t want to. He started again about how I was so unattractive and there was nothing sexy about me,” Saloni narrated.

At one point, Saloni said that he tried to grab her hand and put it on his penis and say that she did not give him a “boner”. She shrugged it off, only to find him walking around in the cabin frantically yelling that no one would find her sexy enough if she could not turn him on, in other words, give him an erection. He allegedly pulled down his pants and pointed to his penis to prove the same point.

“That’s when I threw his laptop and I walked out of the room. I was petrified and disgusted and I couldn’t believe what had just happened to me. I couldn’t work for this man anymore,” Saloni said.

Ultimately, Saloni told him the same thing – that she could not work for him anymore. Sajid allegedly threatened to end her career. “[…] I was scared, but I knew if I kept working for him I’d probably kill myself because I couldn’t take the abuse every day, so I told him to end my career if that’s what he wanted to do, but I was done.”

Saloni said that no one on set seemed to wonder why she had suddenly disappeared. When she told people about it, they laughed it off saying, “That’s Sajid khan for you, he’s pulled off this shit with so many girls.” Saloni also decided to keep mum about it because of the power and influence Sajid holds in the film industry.

“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,” Saloni concluded.

Journalist Karishma accuses Sajid of sexual assault

Apart from Saloni, freelance Bollywood journalist Karishma Upadhyay also recounted her experience of interviewing Sajid, where the latter made her feel extremely uncomfortable with his sexually-coloured remarks and questions.

Throughout the interview that took place at his sister’s house in the early 2000s, Sajid allegedly talked about how large his penis was and that he knew how to satisfy a woman. At one point, Sajid walked out of the room to show Karishma a DVD.

“When he returned, his penis was out. I got up to leave immediately only to find him blocking the way out. And, he forced his tongue down my throat. I pushed him away and ran out,” Karishma wrote in a note she shared on Twitter.

Some years later, when they had to work together again on a show on MTV, she warned him about behaving himself at the end of the first meeting. “I’ll never forget what he said to me. You’re fatter than you used to be. I won’t touch you with a barge pole. And then he laughed,” Karishma said.

Actor Rachel White accuses Sajid of sexual misconduct

Replying to Saloni’s tweet, actor Rachel White recounted an incident from when she was going to meet Sajid for the film Humshakals. Sajid had moved the meeting to his house, and then to pacify Rachel’s concerns, allegedly told her that his mother would be at home. When she reached his home however, Rachel said that the drawing room was empty and she was directed to his bedroom, where Sajid was on a treadmill.

“I stood like an idiot in one corner of the bedroom wondering where to sit and he was on one side on the treadmill. I clearly remember this episode. When he saw me walk in he goes, ‘please come this side,’ all smiling. I walk up towards the treadmill. He was directly staring down at me,” Rachel said.

Sajid then allegedly asked her about her breasts and her body, which Rachel says she did not entertain. “After that he asks me to strip for him because there were scenes in a bikini and he needed to see how I looked. I replied saying, ‘There are pics of me in bikinis sent to you, I think that should good for you.’ And when he insisted I said ‘I’m ready to parade your office in a bikini, not at home,’” Rachel shared.

Sajid then allegedly told her that the role in the film would be hers if she could seduce him in five minutes. “How this ended was me saying that I didn’t come mentally prepared for this and I left his house!” Rachel narrated, adding that she believed Saloni and thanked her for speaking out.