Karishma Khan, the sister of late Hindi actor Jiah Khan, has accused filmmaker Sajid Khan of sexually harassing her sister in the recently released three-episode documentary Death in Bollywood by BBC .
The director had previously been called out for sexual misconduct during the #MeToo movement in India by several women, including actors Sonali Chopra and Rachel White and a journalist.
In a video clip from the show, which is currently viral on Twitter, Karishma Khan said that during the rehearsals of the film Housefull (2010), Sajid Khan had asked Jiah Khan to “take her top off”. Talking about the incident in the documentary, Karishma Khan said, “When she was asked by Sajid Khan to take her top off, she came home and cried. She said, ‘It was a rehearsal, she was reading the scripts and he asked her to take off her top… She didn’t know what to do. She said ‘the filming hasn’t even begun yet and this is happening.’ She came home and cried.”
“I have a contract, and if I leave, he’ll sue me and slander my name and if I stay then I’ll be sexually harassed, it is a lose-lose situation.’ So, she did do the film,” Karishma Khan said in the video.
She said that when she accompanied her sister to Sajid Khan’s house once, he made inappropriate remarks about her. “I remember going to Sajid Khan’s house with my big sister and I remember being around the kitchen table, must’ve been like 16 at this stage. I was just wearing a strappy top and leaned at the table and he was sort of staring and said ‘Oh she wants sex’. My sister Jiah immediately jumped to my defence and said ‘No what are you talking about’, and he said, ‘Look at the way she’s sitting’,” Karishma Khan said in the video.
After the video clip went viral, Hindi actor and model Sherlyn Chopra recounted on Twitter her experience of meeting Sajid Khan after her father’s demise.
When I had met him in April 2005, a few days after my father’s demise, he had taken his penis out of his pants and had asked me to feel it.
I remember having told him that I know how a penis feels like & that the purpose of my meeting with him was not to feel or rate his penis.. https://t.co/2gnGSdEIrU
— Sherni (@SherlynChopra) January 18, 2021
The #MeToo allegations against Sajid Khan surfaced in 2018 when model-actor Saloni Chopra recalled in a post how the filmmaker, whom she was then assisting, allegedly emotionally abused her, sexually harassed her, and undermined her acting abilities in 2011. Soon after, Rachel White recounted an incident of her meeting with Sajid Khan for a role in his film Humshakals. According to White, he allegedly told her that she could get the role if she could seduce him in five minutes.
Lipstick Under My Burkha actor Aahana Kumra had also come out and said in an interview with The Times of India that while Sajid Khan never touched her, he called her over to his room in his house and and asked her inappropriate questions.
“I had a meeting with Sajid Khan about a year ago, knowing the fact that he is a shady guy. I met him and he did the same thing that Saloni (Chopra) has written about him. Same drill — you go to his house, you are escorted to his room which is pretty dark. He makes you watch what he’s watching,” she said.
Following the allegations, the director had stepped down from his position as the director of Housefull 4 in 2018, and Farhad Samji took over as the director. Currently, he has no projects in the making.
Jiah Khan, who started her career opposite Amitabh Bachchan in Ram Gopal Varma’s Nishabd (2007), was found dead in her Mumbai apartment in 2013. Although her death was ruled as a suicide, her mother, Rabiya, accused the actor’s boyfriend, Sooraj Pancholi, who was named in a suicide note found by the police.
Death In Bollywood released in the UK on January 11, and will soon release in India.