Why do the good men of Bollywood keep doing this ? Finally, it seemed like they are getting a hang of thing, but actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha had to rain on the parade. While big names like Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan and quite a few female directors, like Konkona Sen Sharma, have vowed not to work with those accused of sexual misconduct, Sinha has claimed that he will continue working with Subhash Ghai even if the charges against are proven to be true.
In an interview with IANS, Shatrughan Sinha was asked to comment over the allegations of sexual harassment made against his friend Subhash Ghai, to which he responded:
“What happened to innocent until proven guilty? I am all for the #MeToo movement, never in my 40-year career have I misbehaved with any woman. I treat every lady with utmost respect. Having said that, I think this #MeToo campaign is being blown out of all proportion”
Further, Shatrughan Sinha also said:
While the cause was definitely noble and praiseworthy, it has now become a free-for-all. Anyone can name and shame anyone. Reputations and jobs are being lost through a trial by media. To all the women who are aggrieved I say, please go to court and make sure the wrongdoers are punished.
Recently, 11 women filmmakers said they will not work with proven offenders in support to the #MeToo movement. When Sinha was asked about the same, he said that he can’t understand this “hypocrisy”. And, questioned that people have no problem working with someone like Sanjay Dutt, who has been convicted, but then they want to blacklist people whose guilt is not proven yet. Sinha further claimed that these people “just to look like heroes of the #MeToo movement.”
On working with him in future, he said:
“Why not? If he is proven innocent, why not? Even if he is proven guilty, and he serves the punishment given to him, I’d work with him. Sanjay Dutt served his jail sentence and is back working in our large-hearted film industry. In fact, we had no problem working with him even when he was an accused in a serious case.”
When asked about other A-list actors dissociating themselves from tainted directors, the actor-turned-politician said,
“I don’t want to name anyone. But I will say this ‘Sau choohe khaa kar billi haj ko chali’. Those seeking to perch themselves on a high moral ground should look into their conscience. The problem of sexual exploitation, doesn’t end with some names being put out in the social media. This is just the beginning. The problem runs much deeper.”
On asking about his party colleague MJ Akbar, he said that although he doesn’t know which political party he belongs to anymore, he called Akbar a “wise” friend. He further said,
I know him from the time he revolutionised journalism in this country. He knows what he is doing, and why. I believe he has employed 97 lawyers to defend him against charges (of sexual harassment). He should have employed three more lawyers… It would have been a century… Seriously, how can he afford such a massive legal fleet? I can’t afford it if I ever need it.