Actor Daisy Irani has spoken out about sexual abuse she faced as a child. Daisy worked as a child artist in during the 1950s and 1960s starred in a number of major hit films like Boot Polish and Naya Daur. She was more recently seen in movies like Housefull and Happy New Year.
In the interview to Mumbai Mirror, she revealed that she was raped by her “guardian” during an outdoor shoot, when she was just six-years-old:
“The man who did this was supposed to be my guardian. He accompanied me to a film shoot 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.”
Daisy was abused on the sets of Hum Panchhi Ek Dal Ke. Here’s a small scene from the movie where Daisy featured as a child artist:
Irani identified the accused in question as ‘Nazar’, who is now no more. He was related to singer Zohrabai Ambalewaali and had a considerable number of contacts within the industry. In the same interview Daisy also recalled the time when her mother had asked her to dress up to meet a producer:
“When I was 15 or so, my mother made me wear a sari, padded me up with a new-fangled sponge, and left me alone with producer Mallikchand Kochar, who was planning a film called Mere Huzoor then, at his office. It was all quite hilarious… He joined me on the sofa, and started touching me… I knew what was on his mind. I took out the sponge things and handed them to him. He was furious. Now why did I do that? Because, I’ve always seen the funnier side of things.”
Bollywood has always maintained a sanctimonious silence on issues of sexual abuse/harassment within the industry. Only a few weeks back, Papon was accused of kissing a child participant inappropriately on the sets of a reality TV show. No Bollywood actor took a stand or raised a voice against the incident except Raveena Tandon. We all remember how the entire incident was pushed under a carpet. On the other hand, actors like Radhika Apte, Swara Bhaskar and Irrfan Khan have spoken about being harassed but never named names.
Daisy Irani’s revelation comes years after the incident actually happened but the actor felt the need to caution the parents of the child actors and the child actors of the current generation. She said:
“Child actors have it tough. In a majority of cases they have been taken advantage of. Maybe a few have had it easy, but most don’t, really.”