Lara Dutt and Mahesh Bhupathi were first ones of celebrities who came out clear and open about #MeToo movement and sexual harassment allegations against Mukesh Chhabra. The tennis star wrote a full-fledged social media post to set an example how Lara Dutta walked away from a project just because alleged sexual offender Mukesh Chhabra was associated with it. A month later, Mahesh Bhupathi again spoke up strongly against Bollywood’s silence on #MeToo movement. He also revealed how once his wife Lara Dutta was complicit of Sajid Khan’s inappropriate behaviour towards one of her co-stars in Housefull.
While talking to Barkha Dtta at We The Women event this Sunday, he said, “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. I told her, ‘You guys are all complicit. All the four of you, who were in the film, 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."
Lara Dutta refuses project from Mukesh Chhabra’s company, husband Mahesh Bhupathi tweets ‘Stop Engaging’ with offenders
Barkha Dutta argued that one cannot ignore the fact that it was a coercive environment. Many livelihoods depended on Sajid Khan so everyone found it difficult to speak up against him. To this, Mahesh Bhupathi quipped, “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 its a good enough reason to let things like these slide.”
Barkha Dutta asked him why Lara Dutt and her hairdresser friend didn’t raise their voice against Khan, he said, “I think her explanation was the girl was sitting right here and she was ok with it or taking it.”
He also slammed Bollywood industry for remaining tight-lipped about sexual harassment in the industry. Bhupathi said, “I don’t think the cream of the industry has supported the movement. No one said anything. Everyone is on their super-fast path to success at different levels and if it’s not affecting them, it’s not affecting them."