More skeletons tumbled out of Bollywood's closet Friday with directors Sajid Khan, Subhash Ghai and Luv Ranjan being accused of sexual harassment, leading to big stars Akshay Kumar, Farhan Akhtar and Ajay Devgn expressing their solidarity with the #MeToo movement.
Sajid Khan's sister, director-choreographer Farah Khan, also spoke out against her brother, saying she doesn't endorse his behaviour and stands in solidarity with any woman who has been hurt.
"This is a heartbreaking time for my family. We have to work through some very difficult issues. If my brother has behaved in this manner, he has a lot to atone for," she said on Twitter.
The anguished response came after three women actors and a journalist shared graphic details of the sexual harassment they faced at the hands of Sajid, who announced that he is stepping down as director of "Housefull 4" till he can allay the allegations.
Twinkle Khanna was the first to call out the "Housefull" team, asking them to take a "firm stance" in the wake of allegations against the director and cast member though she did not name anyone in her tweet.
"Housefull 4" was being directed by Sajid and featured Nana Patekar, who has been accused by actor Tanushree Dutta of sexually harassing her during a film shoot in 2008. Police is investigating Dutta's complaint while Patekar has denied the allegations.
Dutta's revelations sparked what is being seen as India's #MeToo movement, where journalists, actors and professionals have taken to social media to talk about workplace harassment.
Khanna said she was appalled to hear about the multiple incidents of harassment.
Her husband Akshay soon followed with his own statement, saying the shooting of the film has been put on hold.
"I've just landed back in the country last night and reading all the news has been very disturbing. I've requested the producers of Housefull 4 to cancel the shoot until further investigation," he wrote.
"This is something that requires stringent action. I will not work with any proven offenders and all those who have been subjugated to harassment should be heard and given the justice they deserve," the 51-year-old actor added.
Sajid said he will prove the truth but is taking the "moral responsibility" by stepping down.
"In the wake of the allegations against me and the pressure being put on my family, my producer and the stars of my film 'Housefull 4', I must take the moral responsibility of stepping down from my directorial post, till the time I can allay the allegations and prove the truth...," he said.
Sajid's cousin Farhan Akhtar, who has been a vocal supporter of the movement, said he was shocked and disappointed.
"?I cannot adequately stress how shocked, disappointed and heartbroken I am to read the stories about Sajid's behaviour. I don't know how but he will have to find a way to atone for his alleged actions," he wrote on Twitter.
Actor Bipasha Basu, who worked with Sajid in "Humshakals", said his "general attitude towards women" was disturbing. "He cracked lewd jokes openly and was pretty rude to all girls," she said.
"What? Sajid's behaviour a shock? One of the film industry's not so well kept secrets," added actor Sandhya Mridul, who opened up about her own experience with Alok Nath.
"Pyaar Ka Panchnama" director Ranjan and Ghai are the two other big names to be accused of rape and harassment.
Recounting what had happened when was called for an audition for "Pyaar Ka Punchnama", an anonymous actor told Mid-Day that Ranjan asked her to strip down to her inner wear because he wanted to see how she would look in a bikini scene.
She said she got the role but things did not improve as Ranjan kept asking personal details about her love life. Eventually, she said she decided not to be a part of the film.
Ranjan has denied all the allegations.
Devgn, however, said Friday his production house will not tolerate harassment.
"I'm disturbed by all the happenings with regards to #MeToo. My company and I believe in providing women with utmost respect and safety. If anyone has wronged even a single woman, neither ADF nor I will stand for it," Devgn tweeted.
Writer Mahima Kukreja shared an anonymous post of a woman levelling rape charges against Ghai on Thursday. Kukreja said the woman was a "very credible media/lit personality, who does not want to be named".
In the post, the woman claims Ghai, 73, harassed her while she worked with him on a film and one day during a late music session, he spiked her drink and raped in a hotel.
Ghai, who denied the allegation, issued a fresh statement Friday.
"Destiny shows you good times, bad times. I am deeply pained to be gripped in this movement but thank those who know me and respect I shower to women and their dignity," he tweeted.
Newcomer Zain Durrani has also been accused of abusive behaviour by former girlfriend Saloni Chopra, who was the first to level allegations against Sajid.
Onir, who directed Durrani in "Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz", has supported Chopra.
"As a Man, as a member of this profession and as a person who has seen you growing up... I am sorry and I am ashamed," he wrote on Twitter in a reply to Chopra.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)