The #MeToo movement has rocked Bollywood, with influential names like Nana Patekar, Vikas Bahl, Alok Nath, Subhash Ghai and Rajat Kapoor under the scanner. Now, shocking allegations of sexual misconduct have been levelled against filmmaker Sajid Khan by actress Saloni Chopra.
Saloni, who assisted Sajid in 2011, called it “the most awful experience of my life”. The indecent behaviour started with the interview itself, with him asking her questions like, “Do you masturbate?” and “How many times a week?”
After Saloni landed the job, she was told by Sajid that she was a “director’s assistant” and not an “assistant director”, which meant that she would have to do his work directly. He started calling her at odd hours, but it was never about work. He also asked for her bikini photos because he apparently “needed to know how I looked if I wanted to become an actor”.
Months of mental torture followed. Sajid would tell Saloni how she was not “sexy enough to be an actress”. He offered to take her under his wing and prepare her for Bollywood. He even said that he would cast her in his next film, if she was ready for it. “A part of me wanted it so bad that I kept working for him, and excusing his behaviour whenever I could,” she wrote.
“He’d say horrible, horrible things about his supposed girlfriend at the time, who also happened to be one of the kindest, nicest women I’d ever met in the industry. I wondered why she was with a man like that,” Saloni wrote, adding that Sajid would “describe their sex life in ways I didn’t need to know” and talk about his p***s is supposedly really big and describe his sexual needs. “He would ask me to touch his d**k and get irritated with me when I said I didn’t want to,” she narrated.
“This one time, during a costume trial for a character in the movie he came in to see the girl in the outfit and asked her to lift her skirt and show her ass to him, she looked at me confused and I asked Sajid if it was necessary. She lifted her skirt and he started insulting her telling her she didn’t have any breasts or any ass, how did she think she’d become an actress? Then he asked me to leave the room and let them talk, and I did,” Saloni wrote.
Sajid would keep inviting Saloni to come and stay over at his house, which she would avoid somehow. “One night, it got really ugly. I was so tired of the calls and the constant harassment, I asked him what he wanted from me. I told him that if this was just about sex then fine, I’d come over right now and f**k him but provided he backed off afterwards and stopped calling me every day,” she wrote.
However, Sajid yelled at Saloni and told her that she was “naive and stupid” if she thought it was just about sex. “This wasn’t about sex, it was about me being his little b***h and doing everything he told me to do,” she wrote. “He then said ‘you think I want to fuck you? I have such a hot girlfriend, why would I fuck a girl like you thats not even sexy?'” she added.
When Saloni asked what exactly Sajid wanted from her, he said that he wanted her to follow his every command. “Stay with him. Maybe he’ll ask me to touch myself in front of him, maybe he’ll want to record it. He’ll do things to me and give me orgasm and teach me the art of sex but maybe he won’t actually put his dick inside me. Maybe he will. But it would be up to him what he wanted,” she revealed, adding that he told her that unless she was ready to be someone’s “keep”, no one would cast her.
Surprisingly, when a petrified Saloni reached the set next time, he acted like nothing had happened. He asked her to write an article for some newspaper, and while she was in the middle of it, he snapped at her asking her to spread her legs when she sat. When she refused, he went into a rant about how “unattractive” she was, how there was “nothing sexy” about her and how she was not “good enough to be an actress”.
“He tried to grab my hand and put it on his d**k to show me that I didn’t give him a boner. I shrugged it off and asked him to stop. He frantically started walking around the room telling me I was never going to have a future in this industry and no man would ever find me sexy and he should have a boner but he doesn’t, he doesn’t have a boner looking at me. And then, he pulled his pants down and showed me his dick as he kept yelling ‘see? You don’t even make me hard!'” she added.
Feeling petrified and disgusted, Saloni stormed out of the room and decided not to work for Sajid anymore. “That night he called and told me to take a few days off, threatening to fire me. I said nothing to him. Then a few days later he called me up and asked me to come back to work again, and thats when I told him I wouldn’t work for him anymore. He threatened to end my non existing career and throw me out of this industry, and once again, I was scared, but I knew if I kept working for him I’d probably kill myself because I couldn’t take the abuse every day, so I told him to end my career if that’s what he wanted to do, but I was done,” she wrote.
When Saloni discussed the incidents with people, they brushed it under the carpet and said, “That’s Sajid Khan for you, he’s pulled off this shit with so many girls”. She added, “It took me years to get over the trauma he put me through. I was so scared around the people I worked with. And I’m sure he’s done this to so many other girls, I just want them to know they’re not alone. It’s been 7 years, and it’s about time I said it out loud.”
I finally decided to share my story with you. Writing this was like re-living all that horrible past I’d chosen to let go of, but I knew if I don’t today, I may never.