- Akshay requested Housefull 4 be stopped
- Director Sajid Khan has stepped out of the film
- Housefull 4's Nana Patekar has also been accused
India's growing #MeToo storm halted production of a Bollywood film Friday, with the film's lead calling for harassment claims against its director and his co-star to be "stringently" investigated.
Star Akshay Kumar said he had requested that the making of Housefull 4 be stopped following allegations against director Sajid Khan and one of the film's actors, Nana Patekar.
Accusations that Mr Patekar behaved inappropriately on a film set 10 years ago sparked India's #MeToo movement, which has since engulfed Bollywood figures, a government minister and several comedians and top journalists.
Mr Patekar denies the allegations.
"I've requested the producers (of Housefull 4)... to cancel the shoot until further investigation. This is something that requires stringent action,"Akshay Kumar said on Twitter.
"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.
Mr Khan, 46, tweeted his own statement shortly afterwards to announce that he was stepping down from the film "until the time I can allay the allegations and prove the truth".
Three women, an actor, an assistant director and a journalist took to Twitter on Thursday to accuse Sajid Khan of sexual harassment.
The actress said Mr Khan had insisted that she strip during an audition while the journalist alleged the director forcibly tried to kiss her.
Akshay Kumar's statement came two days after Bollywood power couple Aamir Khan and his film-maker wife Kiran Rao announced that they were withdrawing from a film, which is believed to be Mogul, over a molestation case against a team member - reportedly director Subhash Kapoor - who has also been taken out of the project.
Mr Kapoor denies the charges.
Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan's interventions are being lauded for possibly signalling a watershed moment in Bollywood, where established male stars rarely speak out in support of survivors.
Some Indian actresses have long said that the industry, which is dominated by a few powerful players, needs to create an environment where survivors can come forward without fear of being ostracised.
Filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane announced in the weekend they were severing ties with Bollywood director Vikas Bahl over a sexual assault allegation.
Mr Bahl denies that he sexually assaulted a female employee of Phantom Films, the production house behind Netflix original Sacred Games, in 2015 and has threatened to sue Mr Kashyap and Mr Motwane for defamation.
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