Sona Mohapatra rips into 'Indian Idol' over Anu Malik's return
After news of music director Anu Malik's return as a judge on singing reality television show Indian Idol's season 11 emerged, singer Sona Mohapatra voiced her discontentment with the decision, citing the sexual harassment allegations against the former. Earlier, reports had suggested that the makers had decided to drop Malik as a judge in light of the #MeToo allegations against him.
Criticizing Indian Idol and Sony, the network that broadcasts the show, Mohapatra tweeted: "'Anu Malik unzipped his pants, sexually harassed me: Two more women reveal their @IndiaMeToo stories' This is the pervert @sonymusic & #IndianIdol want back around young girls and boys?" The accounts Mohapatra refers to were shared by two women, who remain anonymous, back in October last year, amid India's #MeToo movement.
“Anu Malik unzipped his pants, sexually harassed me: Two more women reveal their @IndiaMeToo stories” This is the pervert @sonymusic #IndianIdol want back around young girls boys? 👉🏾 https://t.co/hCstVxwEtE— SONA (@sonamohapatra) May 29, 2019
New York-based Danica D’Souza said that Anu Malik’s predatory behaviour was commonplace during Indian Idol shoots and ‘higher-ups’ were aware of it but chose to turn a blind eye. 👇🏾— SONA (@sonamohapatra) May 29, 2019
(As per reports, this pervert has been re-instated by @sonytv ?) https://t.co/ZdPPN7I1EA
When asked if the reports of his return for Indian Idol season 11 were true, Malik told IANS, "No comment." Although there has been no official confirmation, a source told Pinkvilla that Malik has been approached for the show as there was no legal action against him. Singers Vishal Dadlani and Neha Kakkar will also be returning as judges in the upcoming season.
However, amid reports of Malik's Indian Idol return, there's some hope after all. Recently, Yash Raj Films (YRF) studios banned the disgraced music producer from entering the premises. A source at YRF studios stated, "They have a non-negotiable policy to stand firm against people accused of sexual harassment. Last year, they sacked their senior executive Ashish Patel after he was accused of sexual misconduct."
Of the two anonymous accounts, one details an incident of sexual harassment where Malik allegedly lifted a woman's skirt, dropped his pants and later molested her inside a car at a deserted place. Another account revealed that Malik allegedly tried forcefully hugging a woman inside a studio and even recommended that she wear a chiffon saree in their next meeting.
Sharing an incident where Malik harassed her colleague, Danica D'Souza, a former Indian Idol crew member, stated, "In closed circles, we'd talk about Anu being a tharki," adding that seniors in the production house- including women- turned a blind eye when the incident was reported. Singer Shweta Pandit had also claimed that "pedophile" Malik asked her to kiss him when she was just 15.
The allegations had emerged last year after Mohapatra outed Malik as a "serial predator," while detailing her own account where another singer, Kailash Kher, allegedly sexually harassed her. Malik's lawyer had dismissed the allegations as "false and baseless," deeming them an attempt at "character assassination." After the allegations, Malik had been replaced by singer Javed Ali on the Indian Idol jury panel.