Filmmaker Sajid Khan was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women last month. A few days later, Sajid, who was directing Housefull 4, stepped down as the director. However, he denied all the allegations against him in an official statement. Farhan Akhtar, who is Sajid’s cousin, had taken to social media and tweeted about Sajid’s alleged action. “I cannot adequately stress how shocked, disappointed and heartbroken I am to read the stories about Sajid’s behaviour. I don’t know how but he will have to find a way to atone for his alleged actions,” he had written.
Now, in a session with Barkha Dutt at We The Women initiative, Farhan spoke a little in detail about the entire episode.
Every time something like this has happened in the public domain, I have been very vocal with my opinion. When it came to someone within my family, I felt silence on that front would be very, very hypocritical. So pretty much on the first day when three women came out and spoke, I felt it was important for me to speak out. Sajid being my brother, I need to now work with him, try to figure out how he can see this through and how it is that he can make the women, who have been affected by his actions, somehow feel better.
At the conclave, Farhan mentioned that the first thing Sajid had to do was apologise.
Whether stuff like this needs to go into the ambit of court is for them to decide. Those are the things he has to face. To start with apologising is a big step. To say, ‘I am sorry about what I did,’ is a big step, it can make a person feel a lot better.
Farhan also shared that once stories against Sajid were out, a couple of women actually got in touch with him and said that whatever is being said about the filmmaker was indeed true. And Farhan has known these women since 15-20 years but they had never mentioned it to him before.
Talking about the #MeToo movement in Bollywood, and the role men have to play, Farhan said,
There is a certain responsibility that lies on men. If someone has behaved badly with a woman and she has not spoken about it for ten, 20 or 30 years, it’s her prerogative when she wants to speak. Even if someone tells me privately, like these three women, I cannot take their names. Can I go to the public with that? I can’t because she will be answerable then for the rest of her life. It’s a woman’s agency.
We are glad that men like Farhan exist and are taking a firm stand.