Music composer Anu Malik will not be part of the ongoing singing reality show, Indian Idol, amidst several allegations of ‘sexual predatory’ by singers Sona Mohapatra and Shweta Pandit among others.
There were reports that Sony TV had asked to step aside from the show in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment, but the music composer said that he himself had told the channel that he wanted to take a break
“I have issued a statement to the channel ‘I, Anu Malik, have decided to take a break from Indian Idol as I am currently unable to focus on my work on the show.’ The channel has been kind to agree for the same,” Anu Malik was quoted by Indian Express.
Malik has been judging the latest edition of the Indian Idol with Vishal Dadlani and Neha Kakkar. A statement by Sony TV said, “Anu Mallik is no longer a part of the Indian Idol jury panel. The show will continue its planned schedule and we will invite some of the biggest names in Indian music as guests to join Vishal and Neha to judge the extraordinary talent of Indian Idol season 10. ”
On Wednesday, Shweta had had taken to Twitter to narrate her own MeToo experience stating how Malik allegedly asked for a ‘kiss’ in exchange of offering her a song in his film in 2000. Posting the screenshots of her story, Shweta wrote, “Had to go back to my worst memory as a teenage girl today to write this and speak up – its now or never. This is my #MeToo and have to warn young girls about #AnuMalik & let you know your #TimesUp @IndiaMeToo Thank you @sonamohapatra for speaking up about him & supporting this.”
Shweta wrote that it had taken her a lot for her ‘to open up this wound again and speak up against this pedophile and sexual predator.’ She wrote, “I used to admire his music and practice his songs for hours and look upto him back then! He was recording a group song with Sunidhi and Shaan for the film Awara Pagal Deewana, when my mother and i walked in the monitor room. He told me to wait in the small cabin inside where singers sang at Empire studio. It was just him and me there.
“He asked me to sing something without any music as he wanted to hear my voice. I remember i sang the title song of har dil jo pyar karega as a voice test for this man. I sang it well so he said, “ill give you this song with Sunidhi and Shaan but first give me a kiss now” He then smiled, what id recall the most evil grin ive seen. I went numb and pale in the face. I was only 15 years old then, still in school. Can anyone even imagine what it felt that moment? It felt like someone had just stabbed me in my stomach. I referred to this man as “Anu uncle”, he knew my entire family for decades and knew us as a respected gharana of musicians for generations who have given our entire lives dedicated to music for 4 generations.”
Earlier, Sona too had accused Malik of sexual harassment. Taking to Twitter, she had repeated her allegations saying that she stood by them. She had written, “I called #AnuMalik out first & stand by my statement of him being a ‘serial predator’ along with #KailashKher. Dear #India please do not let these men get away like they hope to.They are counting on short public memory & R confident that very soon it will be ‘business as usual’.”
I called #AnuMalik out first & stand by my statement of him being a ‘serial predator’ along with #KailashKher. Dear #India please do not let these men get away like they hope to.They are counting on short public memory & R confident that very soon it will be ‘business as usual’. https://t.co/oo6IVvGBN6
— SONA (@sonamohapatra) October 20, 2018
Meanwhile, Mumbai’s Mid-day had quoted a New York-based producer Danica D’Souza, Operations Director for The Laura Flanders Show, as saying that Anu Malik’s predatory behaviour was commonplace during Indian Idol shoots and ‘higher-ups’ were aware of it but they chose to turn a blind eye. She worked on the reality show for more than a year after joining in 2010.
“This incident occurred in Kolkata. One of our colleagues from the production crew was travelling with a cameraman and Malik in a car to get sound bites. When she returned, she looked traumatised and told us of the unfortunate incident. She said once they had wrapped up their work, Malik touched her thigh in the car, and felt her up. She was startled. The cameraman who was sitting in the front seat wasn’t aware of what was going on behind him,” she was quoted as saying.
Malik, for his part, has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.