When the #MeToo movement picked up in India, singer-composer Anu Malik was removed from the jury panel of "Indian Idol" last year as he was accused of sexual misconduct. Now, there is a buzz about his return to the singing-based reality show as a judge. Asked if the makers of the show had approached him to join back as a judge, Anu told IANS over phone: "Right now, I am at a recording. All I can say at this point of time...no comments."
According to a source, the auditions will begin soon. There is no confirmation whether the makers will bring back Anu on the show or not, but Vishal Dadlani and Neha Kakkar are expected to return and perform their judging duties in the upcoming season of "Indian Idol".
In October 2018, Anu had been accused by singers Sona Mohapatra and Shweta Pandit, who called him a "paedophile" and a "sexual predator". He had denied the allegations that he sexually harassed Shweta. "The 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," his lawyer Zulfiquar Memon had told IANS.
Shweta Pandit had posted a long note accusing Anu Malik of sexual assault. Her note read, “It has taken a lot in me to open up this wound again and speak up against this pedophile and sexual predator. It was the year 2000 when i was launched as a lead singer with #Mohabbatein (was the youngest singer back then in the Indian music industry) 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. I got a call from Anu Malik’s then manager (Mustafa) to come to #empirestudio in andheri sometime in mid 2001. I was thrilled like any singer would be. I used to admire his music and practice his songs for hours and look upto him back then! 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 added, “He asked me to sing something without any music as he wanted to hear my voice. I remember i sang the title song of har dil jo pyar karega as a voice test for this man. I sang it well so he said, “ill give you this song with Sunidhi and Shaan but first give me a kiss now” He then smiled, what id recall the most evil grin ive seen. I went numb and pale in the face. I was only 15years old then, still in school. 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 for generations who have given our entire lives dedicated to music for 4 generations.”
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 @IndiaMeToo— Shweta Pandit Fucci (@ShwetaPandit7) October 17, 2018
Thank you @sonamohapatra for speaking up about him & supporting this pic.twitter.com/e261pGQyEq
(With IANS inputs)