Veteran actress Daisy Irani, who is known for humorous roles and comic timings in several Bollywood movies, recently made the heads turn when she admitted being a victim of child sexual abuse.
The actress revealed that she was molested at the age six by her guardian who used accompany her on the sets of her movie Hum Panchhi Ek Dal Ke. Notably, Daisy Irani happens to be the maternal aunt of Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar and director Zoya Akhtar.
Talking about the horrifying incident, Daisy told Mumbai Mirror, “The man who did this was supposed to be my guardian. He accompanied me to a film shoot (Hum Panchhi Ek Dal Ke) in Madras. One night in the hotel room he violated me, hit me with a belt and warned me that he would kill me if I ever told anyone about what had happened.”
She further added, “That man is dead and gone. His name was Nazar, he was related to the famous singer Zohrabai Ambalewaali. Obviously, he had contacts in the film industry. My mother was hell-bent on making me a star. I made my debut in the Marathi movie, Baby. So Uncle Nazar had accompanied me to the shoot of Hum Panchhi Ek Dal Ke in Madras. I can recall the incident only in flashes, but I do remember the killing pain, and the visual of him belting me. The next morning, I was back at the studio as if nothing had happened. For years, I couldn’t dare to tell my mother about what he had done.”
Irani, who is now in her 60s, said she was aghast recently when someone suggested that children should speak out if something like this happens.
"...I was like have you lost it? Where and who to talk to about it? They (kids) know parents want this work, they are behind them," she added.
When asked whether she meant parents forced children to get into films or TV, she shot back, saying, "Of course, yes."
"I had no idea when I was working with stalwarts like Ashok Kumar and all, I did not know who they were (sic). It was later when I grew up that I realised that they all were such huge actors.
"You can't say it is the mistake of the children. What is their mistake? When we were told you don't have to go to school and do homework...we were happy we did not have to do our lessons, we did not know what we were missing out on."
Irani, however, believes women stars are smarter now."Today, most actresses are very sharp and that is good, I am proud of these girls. Kajol is very courageous, she speaks her mind."
The actor also believes that more educated people are a part of the industry so there is more awareness.
Daisy, who is known for her roles as a child artist in Bandish, Dhool Ka Phool and Ek Hi Raasta, was also seen in movies like Housefull and Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi. She was last seen in Shah Rukh Khan starrer 2014 release Happy New Year.