Tanushree Dutta Is Not Alone In Waiting for Justice
A brief and incomplete history of Bollywood rewarding its predators.
We’re all still waiting for Bollywood’s #MeToo moment, and it isn’t because women aren’t naming perpetrators.
It’s because when they do, the industry rewards these men.
Jeetendra (Ravi Kapoor): In 2018, accused of sexually assaulting 18-year-old cousin in 1971 and police complaint filed; lawyer denies allegations on the basis that these “fabricated claims cannot be entertained by any Court of law […] after a span of almost 50 years.”
Vikas Bahl: Accused of sexual harassment by an employee in 2017; denied allegations and no criminal complaint was filed; continues to work at the company and is directing the Hrithik Roshan-starrer Super 30.
Arunabh Kumar: Faced sexual harassment charges from multiple employees in 2017; stepped down as CEO; will return to the screen as ‘Yogi’ in TVF’s popular show, Pitchers.
Karim Morani: Allegedly repeatedly drugged, raped, and blackmailed a 25-year-old actress over the course of one and a half years; lawyers call case “bogus”; arrested in 2017, but currently out on bail.
Mahmood Farooqui: The Peepli Live co-director was accused of raping a Fulbright scholar in 2015; acquitted after 14 months in jail after Delhi High Court commented, “Sometimes a feeble no, means yes“; currently back on stage, starring in a play he’s written.
Subhash Kapoor: Confirmed, on tape, Geetika Tyagi’s accusation of molestation; arrested in 2014 and released on bail the same day; set to direct Mogul, a biopic being co-produced by Amir Khan, releasing February, 2019.
Ankit Tiwari: Accused of raping a 28-year-old repeatedly between 2013 and 2014; case dropped after only one of the 10 witnesses came forward to testify; will appear in a cameo alongside Govinda and Varun Sharma dancing to his latest song for the upcoming film, Fryday.
Aditya Pancholi: In 2013, Pooja Bedi claimed Pancholi raped her 15-year-old maid; Kangana Ranaut accused him of physically and mentally abusing her at 17; in October 2017, Pancholi files a criminal defamation case against Ranaut.
Irrfan Khan: In 2012, Mamata Patel accused Khan of sexually exploiting her while shooting Pan Singh Tomar, promising her meaty roles in the future; Patel received phone calls threatening her to keep silent, and Khan refused to comment on the allegations; Doob – No Bed of Roses, a film Khan starred in and co-produced, is Bangladesh’s entry for the Academy Awards 2019.
Rajesh Khanna: In 2012, Anita Advani accused the late actor of sexually assaulting her when she was 13 and described how Khanna had told her to keep it a secret. Khanna was considered India’s first superstar, and received a Padma Bhushan award in 2013.
Dibakar Banerjee: Accused by Payal Rohtagi of sexual harassment during her audition in 2011; denied allegations and received support from Anurag Kashyap; recently directed an episode for Lust Stories.
Shiney Ahuja: Spent seven years in jail for raping his household worker in 2009; got out on bail; on the set of his comeback film, Welcome Back, co-star Anil Kapoor embraced him and said, “Welcome back, my boy.”
Madhur Bhandarkar: Preeti Jain filed a complaint that he raped her 16 times between 1999 and 2004; Bhandarkar was granted bail and Jain dropped the case; Jain later sentenced to three years for conspiring to kill Bhandarkar. Since 2004, Bhandarkar has made more than 10 films, including Fashion and Page 3.
Salman Khan: Aishwarya Rai’s family filed a complaint of abuse in 2001; in September 2002 Rai wrote an open letter to the press about their relationship and the physical and emotional abuse she suffered; in 2008, Khan assaulted Katrina Kaif in public three times; in 2017, Khan publicly condemned ‘casting couch’ with the caveat, “Now, being a beautiful woman or a man, someone or the other is going to flirt with you,” adding that it is different from harassment; eight of the films Khan has acted in since the first allegations have accumulated gross earnings of more than $14 million.
Biswajit Chatterjee: During the shoot for Anjana Safar, in the late 60s, actor Chatterjee, and the film director (Raja Nawathe), decided to catch a 15-year-old actress, Rekha, by surprise with an onscreen kiss; the incident and its traumatizing effect on Rekha were described in a book published in 2016, in which Biswajit defended his assault by saying it was important for the film; this year Chatterjee celebrates his Bollywood career’s golden jubilee with a music gala.
Om Puri: In 2013, Nandita Puri filed a domestic abuse complaint against her then-husband when he beat her with a stick and yelled abuses at her; allegedly his rage was because Nandita revealed in her biography of him that he had raped his 14-year-old maid; Puri passed away in 2017, but his last film, Lashtam Pashtam, released on August 10 of this year.
Subhash Ghai: In the early 90s, Manisha Koirala’s mother alleged that Ghai made inappropriate advances towards Manisha during the shooting of Saudagar (1991); Koirala stayed silent but never worked with Ghai again; in 2010, Rina Golan’s memoir reveals Ghai told her to “surrender to me completely” while ushering her into his bedroom: Ghai denied ever meeting Golan; this summer, Ghai announced his next venture at the Cannes Film Festival, producing a biopic of Osho.
Nadia Nooreyezdan is The Swaddle's culture editor. Since graduating from Columbia Journalism School, she spends her time thinking about aliens, cyborgs, and social justice sci-fi. She's also working on a memoir about her family's journey from Iran to India.