Makers of Indian Idol continue to twiddle their thumbs about their judge Anu Malik, against whom two women have come forward to level allegations of sexual harassment
Almost a week after Sona Mohapatra called out Anu Malik for being “a serial predator”, singer Shweta Pandit accused the music composer of sexual misconduct yesterday. With the industry following a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment, pressure has mounted on Fremantle India, the makers of Indian Idol, and Sony Entertainment to drop Malik from the show. He has judged every season since the reality show began airing in 2004.
Referring to Malik as a “paedophile” and “sexual predator”, Pandit recounted the 18-year-old episode in a detailed post on Twitter. According to the post, she met Malik in a cabin at Empire Studio in Andheri — the composer was recording a song with Shaan and Sunidhi Chauhan for Awara Pagal Deewana (2002).
“It was just him and me there. He asked me to sing without any music, as he wanted to hear my voice. I remember I sang the title song of Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega. I sang it well, so he said, ‘I’ll give you this song with Sunidhi and Shaan but first give me a kiss now.’ He then smiled, what I recall as the most evil grin I’ve seen,” she wrote.
Pandit also pointed out that she was only 15 years of age at the time. “Can anyone even imagine what it felt that moment? I referred to this man as “Anu uncle”, he knew my entire family for decades… He addressed my father as “Mandheer bhai”. And he does this to his bhai’s daughter? (sic)”
No sooner had Pandit’s tweet gone viral than netizens questioned why the show producers and the channel were not taking strict action against Malik. They cited examples of Sajid Khan and Subhash Kapoor, who had been ousted from their directorial ventures following sexual harassment allegations.
A source close to the channel revealed that the officials are deciding on the next course of action. “They have taken note of the developments, but no decision has been taken yet. It is a wait-and-watch situation as Anu Malik is synonymous with the show. Though netizens have been tagging Sony TV in their online demand to oust him, the channel officials are keeping mum for now,” the source said.
When contacted, the channel officials refused to comment. Malik, on his part, remained incommunicado. Earlier in the evening, Malik rubbished the allegations to a news agency, stating, “This is ridiculous. I don’t want to talk about it. Today anyone says anything.” He is currently hosting Indian Idol’s tenth season with Vishal Dadlani and Neha Kakkar.