Tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi has said that wife, actor Lara Dutta, had told him how one of Housefull actors was mistreated by director Sajid Khan on the sets. A number of women have accused Khan of sexual harassment.
Tennis champion Mahesh Bhupathi said at ‘We The Women’ event in Mumbai that his actor wife Lara Dutta had complained to him that her co-star was being subjected to “rude, vulgar” behaviour on the sets of Housefull by director Sajid khan. Khan has been accused by at least four women of sexual harassment as part of India’s #MeToo movement. Actors like Dia Mirza and Bipasha Basu have also termed the director’s behaviour “obnoxious and sexist”.
“When we were dating she was shooting for Housefull and we were in London at that time. She would come home and her closest friend was her hair dresser and they both would be complaining about how one of her co-stars was being treated by the director. Rude, vulgar,” he said. Bhupathi was in conversation with journalist Barkha Dutt.
The 2010 film starred Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Deepika Padukone, Lara Dutta, Jiah Khan, Boman Irani and Arjun Rampal.
Bhupathi recalled he told the actor how “all four of you,” who were working in the film, were complicit in enabling Sajid’s behaviour. “I told her you guys are all complicit, all the four of you who were in the film (and) were listening to what he was saying and not telling him it’s not ok. So at some level you guys are complicit and she agreed,” he said.
To which, Barkha said it would have been difficult to take on Sajid as people’s work depended on him and that is a coercive environment which makes it difficult for women, to speak up as they would lose work.
Bhupathi said he understands the film fraternity functions in a different way but it does not justify one brushing off something as serious as indecent behaviour. “I come from the sports industry where we think differently. In sports, the cream always rises to the top. If you’re good at what you do, you are going to win matches and get results.
“Obviously the film industry is different. If the fraternity decides to ostracise you, you don’t get work. But I don’t think it’s good enough reason to let things like these slide,” he said.