- "Sajid Khan has directed 60 per cent of the film," said Akshay
- Farhad Samji took over as the director after Sajid stepped down
- Housefull 4 is slated to release on October 25
Akshay Kumar, who headlines the cast of the comedy film Housefull 4, interacted with the media during the film's trailer launch in Mumbai on Friday, where he said that it was the studio's decision to not give #MeToo accused Sajid Khan directing credit, news agency PTI reported. The 51-year-old actor said, "Sajid has directed 60 per cent of the film. But this is studio's call to not give him credit and that is how it going to happen now," reports PTI. Housefull 4 has been produced by the banner Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment. Sajid Khan, who was implicated in sexual harassment allegations in three separate #MeToo accounts by actresses Saloni Chopra and Rachel White and journalist Karishma Upadhyay last year, stepped down as the film's director and was replaced by Farhad Samji.
When Akshay was asked if he plans on working with Sajid Khan in the future, the Gold actor said, "I don't know what has happened exactly and if he is acquitted, I will surely work with him." Akshay Kumar has earlier worked with Sajid Khan in the 2010 film Housefull and Housefull 2 (2012). Both the films were helmed by Sajid Khan.
During the media interaction, Akshay Kumar also spoke about how the film industry has become a "secure" place after the #MeToo movement gained momentum. "There have been a lot of changes since #MeToo began. Every production company I know, like Sajid Nadiadwala''s company, now a days there are officers on the set to deal with such cases. They make sure that nothing goes wrong. They are there to take the complaints. There is a lot of security now. And we don't want misbehaviour happening," PTI quoted Akshay Kumar as saying.
Last year, Akshay Kumar cancelled the ongoing Housefull 4 shoot after sexual misconduct allegations against Nana Patekar and Sajid Khan, both of whom were accused of harassment. Akshay said he had asked that producers stall the shoot in the wake of the #MeToo allegations and tweeted: "I will not work with any proven offenders and those who have been subjugated to harassment should be heard and given the justice they deserve." Both Nana Patekar and Sajid Khan were associated with Housefull 4 and were replaced by Rana Daggubati and Farhad Samji respectively.
Read Akshay's tweet here:
The #MeToo movement gained momentum in the Indian film industry last year, after actress Tanushree Dutta revived a decade-old controversy with sexual harassment allegations against Nana Patekar, on the sets of a 2008 film Horn 'Ok' Pleassss.
Other than Akshay Kumar, Housefull 4 also features Bobby Deol, Chunky Panday, Johnny Lever, Riteish Deshmukh, Kriti Sanon, Pooja Hegde and Kriti Kharbanda. The film is slated to release on October 25.
(With inputs from PTI)