With Pakistani singer, Meesha Shafi accusing fellow-musician Ali Zafar of sexual harassment, the Harvey Weinstein syndrome that shook the American entertainment industry last year, has reached the Asian shores. It’s only a matter of time before the sexual predators and pedophiles of Bollywood (yes, there are those too) are exposed.
As far as singer Ali Zafar is concerned, Bollywood, where he has worked in quite a few films, has no reason to complain. One of the top Bollywood leading ladies with whom Ali has worked gives him a clean chit. “He was always impeccably behaved. There was never a whiff of any untoward behaviour. He was punctual, professional, polite, almost aloof. Never tried to act familiar. But then, that’s my experience. The narrative might be completely different in another continent.”
The last Bollywood film that Ali Zafar worked in was Gauri Shinde’s Dear Zindagi. Everyone associated with that film vouches for Ali’s professionalism and decency.
The narrative is indeed different for Ali across the border. Meesha Shafi’s allegations have hit hard. I tried to contact his colleagues from the entertainment industry in Pakistan. There was mostly a silence. Only one actor spoke on condition of anonymity. “Main kya bolu? He’s a well-behaved cultured boy. And seems happily married with two children. This (allegations) will definitely affect his popularity. Hopefully, it won’t damage his family life.”
Unless more women come forward with allegations against Ali Zafar. Has the #MeToo movement started in Pakistan? If it has, how long would it be before actresses start naming and shaming the sexual offenders of Bollywood?