Aamir Khan, contrary to his earlier decision, work with #MeToo accused Subhash Kapoor in his next, Mogul.
Reportedly, TV actor Geetika Tyagi had accused filmmaker Subhash of sexual misconduct in 2014.
After Subhash Kapoor’s name came under MeToo movement, Aamir quickly stepped out of his film and decided not to work with the alleged sexual harasser.
However, Aamir’s decision has indeed hurt Geetika, as she expresses her disappointment in an interview with an Indian newspaper.
In the interview, Tyagi conveys:
“I had commended Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan [last year] because it gave hope to more women to speak up about their own stories.
But I had never asked for it from them. Now that Subhash has been hired back, it’s not like someone [from their end] reached out to me.
It would have been a fair game had they considered both sides of the story.”
She adds: “The industry is patriarchal. Only women face the repercussions of complaining against sexual harassment, whether in the workplace or otherwise.
They are ostracised when they complain. It’s a sensitive decision on Aamir’s part that Subhash shouldn’t be treated badly until proven guilty.
But what about my livelihood that has stopped since 2014? Criminal cases take time [to be served justice] and that’s a reality.”
Mentioning about the superstar’s decision, Geeta adds:
“Aamir re-hiring him doesn’t affect my case, which is subjudice. I did everything by the book — went to the cops, filed charges, went to the lawyers.
I believe in my fight, the system and I have my evidence.”
In another media interview, Khan explained that he was reversing his decision because the legal case against Kapoor was still being contested.
“Laws of natural justice consider a person innocent until he/she is proven guilty,” he said, adding, “But until such time that the courts reach a conclusion, is it that he/she should not be allowed to work? Is he to just sit at home and not earn?”
He also said that in May, he received a letter from industry body IFTDA (the Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association).
The letter asked Khan to reconsider his decision since the case against Kapoor was subjudice, and that:
“I should wait for the courts to decide on his matter. And until such time, he [Kapoor] shouldn’t lose his right to earn a living… When I read that letter, I felt even guiltier.
Perhaps we’re doing the wrong thing.”
“Last year, during the MeToo movement, mention of this case came up. That’s when we got to know about it, and we were most disturbed,” said Khan.
That led Khan and Rao to issue a joint statement that explained why they were stepping away from the project:
“We are not an investigative agency, nor are we in any position to pass judgement on anyone — that is for the policy and judiciary to do,” said the statement.
“So, without casting any aspersions on anyone involved in this case, and without coming to any conclusions about these specific allegations, we have decided to step away from the film.”
Expanding on his reasons to reconsider his decision, Khan said in the newspaper interview that Kapoor’s case was not about sexual misconduct at the workplace.
Plus, such cases are typically handled by the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of any organisation, which arrives at a decision within a stipulated amount of time.
Kapoor’s case was being legally contested, and “courts of law are known to take longer,” Khan said.
He adds: “Kiran and I have zero tolerance for any sexual misconduct. But without an ICC ruling or a court ruling, how are we to decide whether the accused person is guilty or not?”
Mogul is a biopic on the late music magnate, Gulshan Kumar, who was assassinated in 1997 by the Mumbai underworld.