"I want to clear my name and return to the show."
Music director Anu Malik has made the decision to relinquish his duties as a judge on the reality TV show Indian Idol, in the wake of #MeToo allegations against him.
Malik, however, has revealed that he has not quit, rather he is taking a “three-week break from the show.”
Malik’s music career has expanded over forty years in Bollywood. He went on to win the National Award for ‘Best Music Direction’ for Refugee (2000).
In 2018, Anu Malik was accused by Sona Mohapatra for sexual misconduct. Singers Shweta Pandit and Neha Bhasin had also levelled accusations against Malik for sexual harassment.
According to an interview with Hindustan Times, Malik stated his decision for taking a break was because he wanted to “clear his name.” He said:
“I have not quit the show. I have taken a three-week break. I want to clear my name and return to the show.
“If someone is saying things about me again and again on social media, it gets to you.
“This Twitter campaign has been going on since a while and I was tired of these false, malicious accusations on social media.
“The best thing is once you clear your name and go back to business, it is good for everyone.”
Singer Sona Mahapatra had condemned those associated with running Indian Idol on Twitter for rehiring Malik. Neha Bhasin also followed suit.
Previously, during season 10 of the talent show, Anu Malik stepped down as judge when accusations were first made against him by female artists. Malik said:
“Sony has been so supportive. Last season, I quit (after the accusations) and this year, they got me back.
“They would not have brought me back if I was not in the clear. If they had any doubts about me, they wouldn’t have approached me at all.
“This time, I told them that people keep saying things about me so this time, I will come back after clearing my name.”
Malik went on Instagram to express how previous and recent accusations against him are “false and unverified allegations.” He explained:
“It has been over a year that I have been accused of something that I haven’t done. I have been silent all this while as I was waiting for the truth to surface on its own.
“But I realise that my silence on the matter has been misconstrued as my weakness.
“Being a father of two daughters, I can’t imagine committing the acts that I am accused of, let alone do it.
“Fighting a battle on social media is an endless process, at the end of which nobody wins.”
“If this keeps on continuing, I will have no option but to know on the doors of the courts to safeguard myself.”
Yet, Sona Mohapatra shared her delight over Malik stepping down as judge. In an interaction with IANS, she stated:
“It’s great news. Sony TV took a long time to do this but I am happy that he has finally stepped down from the show. It’s a battle of the whole country.
“There are so many people who did not want to see this person (Anu Malik) flaunting himself on national television because it gives a lot of wrong messages to predators that they can also get away with such a thing.”
She continued to mention how it was justice for everyone. Sona mentioned:
“I was fighting for justice. Now, after hearing this news, I think it is a victory for everybody.
“Not just me but also for all other women who were badly treated by him. It is a symbolic victory.
“Our fight is not over yet, it’s just a start. We are not going to sit here and let people take us for granted.”
It has been alleged that Anu Malik’s decision came after Sona Mohapatra’s open letter to the Union Women and Child Development (WDC) Minister Smriti Irani.
She urged Smriti to consider the matter. On Twitter, she said:
“My open letter to the honourable minister for women & child development.
“@smritiirani, I hugely admire you, your tenacity and commitment to work for the welfare of people in India and I request you to please read this.
“Many more women are writing into me privately about this man (Anu Malik).”
As a result of this, the National Commission for Women had sent a notice to Sony TV and they shared it on their Twitter. It read:
“@NCWIndia has taken Suo-Motu cognisance of this matter and send a notice to Sony Entertainment Television.”
The notice continued to state Sona Mohapatra’s tweet and required the channel to confirm their decision. Mohapatra was asked whether the open letter resulted in Malik deciding to leave the show. She said:
“I really would not know. I am sitting here in my own little world.
“If my letter or her name has created any effect then I would like to thank her. She is an amazing woman.”
These allegations against Anu Malik is an ongoing matter. We wait to see if the parties take matters to the court.