The #MeToo movement is not ready to slow down anytime soon. After Bollywood actors like Alok Nath, Nana Patekar, Hrithik Roshan have been allegedly accused of sexual harassment, new names are coming up with every passing day.
Now, music-composer Anu Malik has also been accused of sexual misconduct. Singer Shweta Pandit shared a detailed account of an incident when music composer Anu Malik allegedly made sexual advances towards her when she was 15 years old.Â
In a lengthy heart-felt post on Twitter, the singer accused Malik of being a "paedophile and sexual predator", saying he misbehaved with her when she was a neophyte in the Bollywood music industry.
"It was the year 2000 when I was launched as a lead singer with 'Mohabbatein' and was trying to get other good songs to follow up with the success of that soundtrack and the outstanding welcome it gave me in the music industry," she said.
Pandit said she was an admirer of the musician and was thrilled when she got a call from Malik's manager to come to Andheri's Empire Studio to record a song in 2001."He was recording a group song with Sunidhi and Shaan for the film 'Awara Pagal Deewana', when my mother and I walked in the monitor room. He told me to wait in the small cabin inside where singers sang at Empire studio. It was just him and me there," she said.
Malik then asked Pandit to sing a few lines for a voice test."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'd recall the most evil grin I've seen. I went numb and pale in the face. I was only 15 years old then, still in school," she said."Can anyone even imagine what it felt that moment? It felt like someone had just stabbed me in my stomach. I referred to this man as 'Anu uncle' he knew my entire family for decades and knew us as a respected gharana of musicians...," said Pandit, who is the grandniece of veteran Classical singer Pandit Jasraj.
Had to go back to my worst memory as a teenage girl today to write this and speak up - its now or never. This is my #MeToo and have to warn young girls about #AnuMalik & let you know your #TimesUp @IndiaMeTooâ€” Shweta Pandit (@ShwetaPandit7) October 17, 2018
Thank you @sonamohapatra for speaking up about him & supporting this pic.twitter.com/e261pGQyEq
Calling it the â€œworst experience of her lifeâ€, Shweta says she was traumatised by the incident and could not muster courage to inform her parents about it.Â
Pandit is not the first one to name Anu Malik, who isÂ currently a judge on reality singing TV show "Indian Idol".Â Before Shweta, Sona Mohapatra had called out Malik out too.
In response to Pandit's allegation, Mohapatra thanked her for speaking up and calling out Malik.
When contacted for a response to Pandit's allegations, Malik told PTI, "No comments. This is ridiculous. I don't want to talk about it. Today anyone says anything.
Malik's lawyer Zulfiquar Memon has denied allegations that Malik sexually harassed singer Shweta Pandit. â€œThe allegations made against my client are emphatically denied as completely false and baseless. My client respects the #MeToo Movement but to use this movement to start a character assassination mission is obnoxious," said Memon.