Actor Mandana Karimi feels sad how the conduct of filmmaker Sajid Khan, who was accused by multiple women–including Mandana herself– of sexual misconduct during the #MeToo movement, has been normalised with his participation in the popular reality show Bigg Boss.
Season 16 of the Salman Khan-hosted show has been receiving tremendous flak for welcoming Sajid as one of the contestants, despite media testimony by at least nine women. Late actor Jiah Khan’s sister Karishma Khan had also accused the director of sexually harassing Jiah when she spoke to BBC for the documentary, Death of Bollywood (2021).
Lekar apne saath entertainment ki saugaat, aaye hai Sajid Khan! 😎
— ColorsTV (@ColorsTV) October 1, 2022
During an interview with Hindustan Times, Mandana Karimi said she was not surprised how the filmmaker was back in the mainstream. “To be honest, I’m not surprised to see him back in the spotlight. For people, life has become like I will put my head under the sand.
“If it is going to benefit me, and I can make money, then who cares? That shows why the MeToo movement in India and many other countries didn’t really reach anywhere,” she said. Mandana said just a few women came forward and spoke about their experiences during the #MeToo movement but “that was it”. There was no action, no social boycott.
“What is the action? Who is boycotting these people? Nothing is going to happen. Because we are talking about the bigger industry, which is a place where someone is someone’s mom, boyfriend, girlfriend or husband. It’s like you, you scratch my back, and I will scratch your back.”
Mandana Karimi said it pained her to see Sajid Khan onscreen and added that she has consciously chosen not to work in an industry which disrespects its women like this. “It does make me feel sad. To be honest, that is also the reason I have not worked for the last seven months. I’m not working anymore. I didn’t go to any auditions. I don’t want to work in Bollywood. I don’t want to be involved with an industry where there is no respect for women.”
Mandana said she is now contemplating what to do next after she leaves the Hindi film industry. “Because being a woman, it’s not easy. I need to see what makes me happy because life is too short to compromise for anyone… There are people who agree to compromise and keep their mouth shut, or not talk about the things happening around, thinking what difference will one person make. That is the main problem.. Let’s see where my life takes me.”
Mandana Karimi, last seen in reality show Lock Upp, also claimed that her dues from the Ekta Kapoor-backed reality show are yet to be cleared. “I’m still fighting for my money. My full payment hasn’t come. The show was over five months back. I am still waiting to know why they aren’t clearing my dues.”