Imran Khan, the elusive actor-director, may not be among hits but his commentary on social issues has always been on point. This time, the Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na star has spoken out against Vikas Bahl and the controversy around him sexually harassing an employee in the year 2015. In an interview to in.com, Imran has said that he had raised his concerns about Vikas Bahl still working in the industry even after the allegations against him came to fore. “I remember being at a party where there were other people from the industry also present. I had raised my concern about how MeToo had become such an important movement in the West but back in India, a man like Vikas was still allowed to work. At that point, everyone thought that I was making an issue out of nothing and I realized then that I was standing on the wrong side of what people thought of his actions,” he said.
“Now people may think that I am being publicity hungry by talking about it now considering my films haven’t worked in the recent past but I don’t really care because this is the concern I had raised way back then and I stand by them now.”
On further probing, Imran claims that this allegation on Bahl is just a tip of the iceberg. “I know at least three other actresses who have faced an ordeal similar to the girl in question. Vikas was with UTV then and had told them straight up, ‘you will get the role but what will I get?’ He has been indulging in such activities ever since but no one had come out against him, until now.”
When asked whether he would like to talk about these incidents in detail, Imran declined. “Frankly, I am talking about this now because it is important that we keep the momentum going against such preparators. I would not want to out the name of the survivors because it is their story to tell. But through this interview, I would like to say that if ever these ladies decide to come out against Bahl, I will be standing by them unconditionally. This interview is also to tell them that I know what happened to them and I believe in their story.”
While the #MeToo movement is throwing out new names every day, Imran feels that there is a need for journalists to be responsible and reach out not just to the survivors but also the accused. “These days, accusations are being made on the social media and while we should believe the women, the media should also make a conscious effort to reach out to the accused for their side of the story.”
A basic requirement really for journalists. But when asked why some major powers in the industry were mum on the issue, the case in point being his uncle Aamir Khan who otherwise has been rather vocal about women’s rights and security of a girl child, Imran said, “Well, you aren’t the first one to point out that Aamir has been quiet on the issue. I have had friends and fifteen others asking me the same thing. To be fair, I haven’t had the time to reach out to him and have this discussion.”
Khan is expecting a backlash for this interview considering Bahl has already planned a defamation case against Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane. “I have decided to make my position known on this issue because unlike two years ago when I was forced to be cordial with this man at public events, I do not intend to shake his hands and smile at him,” he signs off.