Another #MeToo accused Anu Malik rehabilitated?
Barely a year after he was called out by several women and dropped from Indian Idol, music composer Anu Malik shoots for promo for the latest season of the reality show
When the #MeToo wave hit India in late 2018, the subsequent action taken against several alleged sexual offenders made one believe that Bollywood was ready for that long overdue course correction. However, cut to a year later, the industry appears to have stayed true to its fickle nature. Anu Malik — who was dropped from Indian Idol 10 after he was accused of sexual harassment by singers Sona Mohapatra and Shweta Pandit, among others — has found his way back to the show. The music composer shot for a promo of the upcoming season with co-judges Neha Kakkar and Vishal Dadlani, on Saturday.
A source reveals, "The makers and channel decided to reinstate Anu Malik as one of the judges as he, with his shair-o-shayari, is synonymous with Indian Idol. He has judged every season since the reality show began airing in 2004." While rumours of Malik returning to the show had been doing the rounds for a while, the channel officials announced that they were retaining last season's judges.
Anu Malik at the promo shoot
Last October, Malik was outed in the #MeToo movement when Mohapatra referred to him as "a serial predator". The voice grew stronger when Pandit recounted how years ago, he had allegedly demanded a kiss from the then-15-year-old singer in return for a song. Several survivors — including producer Danica D'Souza, who had worked with him on Indian Idol 5 — shared their account of sexual harassment at the hands of Malik.
When mid-day reached out to Mohapatra, she said, "People need to take a stand for what is right."
The channel officials and Malik chose not to respond.
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I have been exploited, says Section 375 writer Manish Gupta