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If there is enough reason to doubt the person, we will not engage with him: Aamir Khan on #MeToo

On the latest episode of Koffee with Karan, the actor revealed that while the patriarchy is rampant in the industry, it is a good thing women are starting to speak up. 

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Shriram Iyengar

The latest episode on television chat show Koffee With Karan saw actor Aamir Khan come up with a detailed explanation on his stand about the ongoing #MeToo crusade against sexual harassment in the film industry. The Thugs Of Hindostan (2018) actor suggested that he, and wife Kiran Rao, had come to the decision to not work with an accused 'if there were enough reasons to doubt him'.

The decision is reflective of Khan's backing out of Mogul, the biopic on late Gulshan Kumar, after director Subhash Kapoor's name cropped up in a case of sexual harassment.

In his statement announcing the decision, Khan had purposely avoided casting aspersions on the accused as well as the accuser. He explained on the show, "I do not have a choice because in many of these cases, the person who is coming out with the story is not necessarily registering a police complaint. So, a person has not put a police case but is coming out with her story. I respect that. Now, that means this case is not going to be heard in a court of law. So, you will have to decide on your own [sic]."

The #MeToo movement in India began after actress Tanushree Dutta accused Nana Patekar of harassment and misbehaviour on the sets of Horn Ok Pleasss back in 2008. Since then, a number of women have come out alleging molestation, harassment and rape by prominent and powerful men in the film industry. Some of the accusations have been levelled at Alok Nath, Anu Malik, Vikas Bahl, Sajid Khan, among others.

Speaking of his role, Khan admitted that he understood the risk of ostracising an innocent on accident. He said, "I was aware of the responsibility on Kiran and me. Also, there were a lot of things. If the person is innocent, I do not know how I will live with myself because I would have finished the person off. I carry that burden and I think about it every night."

However, the actor came clean on his own faults in propogating this patriarchy through his roles. Describing the song 'Khambe Jaisi Khadi Hai' from Dil (1980), Khan said, "A lot of societies in the world are patriarchal. India is one of them and the way we objectify women in our films, I have said it on my show Satyamev Jayate, I have done it. I have sung a song '“Khambe Jaisi Khadi Hai'”. Literally, objectifying women in every sentence. So, it is awful that we have been doing it."

The actor praised the women who have stepped up, despite the opposition, and the movement saying, "First of all, this kind of exploitation women have been facing for decades, centuries and not just in films, in life. And it’s really awful that any human being should be degraded in any manner, should be pressurized in any manner, misused in any manner and preyed upon. It is really heartbreaking. I am glad there is a clean up happening and women are having the strength to speak about it."

The actor is currently awaiting the release of his upcoming film, Thugs Of Hindostan, on 8 November 2018.

Related topics

Sexual harassment