EXCLUSIVE! Dimple Paul: Sajid Khan told me that Jiah Khan stood in the same place where I stand now

Speaking exclusively to Beyond Bollywood, Paul recalls her alleged horrific sexual harassment at the hands of Khan ten years ago

By Mayur Lookhar

Dimple Paul (L), Sajid Khan (R)

Sajid Khan’s one year ban for alleged sexual harassment ends on 26 September. However, there could be fresh trouble for the controversial filmmaker after a Mumbai model accused Khan of sexual harassment. Dimple Paul (27) had earlier today (11 September) Instagrammed about the sexual harassment by Khan, when she was a minor.

Beyond Bollywood got in the touch with Paul to know what exactly happened then. The alleged incident took place in 2010 when she was a minor (17). We’ve listed the entire alleged episode as it happened [in the words of Paul].

1 Mr & Miss University pageant [2010]

Dimple Paul (r) at Mr & Miss University pageant held in Mumbai in December 2010

It was in December 2010 when I had won a beauty pageant called Mr & Miss University pageant. I was representing N.I.E.M college (Mumbai). It was said that the winner would get a chance to work in a Bollywood film. Sajid Khan was one of the judges. I won the competition. Later that night, I got a call from him. I didn’t have his number. He said I’m Sajid, and I was like “Sajid who?”. He then introduced himself. I was stunned as to why such a big filmmaker was calling me. He told me that he was looking for new faces to cast for Housefull 2 [2012]. He asked me to come down to his home, behind ISKCON Temple in Juhu, Mumbai.

2 Meeting at Sajid Khan residence next day

We fixed a meeting in the morning. I was very excited yet apprehensive. I was only 17 then. I’d taken my boyfriend with me. I asked him to wait down and I will finish the meet soon.

Once into his house everything seemed normal. We were sitting in his living room. Hi mother was inside her room. He began the conversation asking me to give different expressions – sad, happy, and pose in front of the wall. I did as he told me, and then he just laughed looking at me. I thought he wasn’t happy with it. He came and sat next to me. He asked me if I have a boyfriend and whether I have had sex. I was nervous and didn’t really know what to say. He said that it’s an altogether different thing to have sex with a man. He told me that if it wasn’t for him, I would’t have won the pageant. He kept his hand on my leg and started rubbing it. He said something like you know Jiah Khan stood in the same place where I stand now.

3 Meeting in the living room and later bedroom

I was taken aback. I didn’t know how to react. He then offered to show his house. I saw his mother reading a book in her room. while the staff was in kitchen. He then took me to his room. Now it was largely dark inside. He kept smoking. That is when I felt uncomfortable. I asked him why are we here and he said this is his where he conducts audition. I told him but there is no camera, no light. Shouldn’t this happen in a studio? He kept staring at my top. The next moment, he pulled my top. He asked me to take it out as he needed to see my body structure. I realized his [dirty] intentions. That is when I just got up and walked out of his house.

4 Indirect threat issued later that night

After leaving his house, I came down and cried in the car. I told my boyfriend everything and we just left from there. Strangely, later that day he called me several times. I didn’t respond to his calls. He sent me a text message saying whatever happened today I should forget about it and not tell it to anyone. He said this is how it happens in the industry. If I speak about it, my career would be over before starting.

An alleged offence that took place ten years ago, as often such victims are questioned why now? Paul said some people are telling her that she shouldn’t be speaking about it now. Paul’s father had passed away years ago, but her mother passed away last year. Her mother was never in favour of her showbiz dreams and so she didn’t speak about it all these years. This incident scared her and she stopped pursuing her acting dreams.

“I didn’t go to any big banner because of the same reason. I thought this is what happens with every outsider. I lost 4-5 years because of this. My father passed away years ago, my mother passed away last year. All these years, I feared about them. But now I am alone. I have earned enough to look after myself. I didn’t bring this up to become famous. I just posted about this as I didn’t want other girls to be trapped like this” said Paul.

Paul isn’t sure about filing a legal complaint with the police or complaining to film unions. She simply wanted a closure to the dark episode that’s haunted her for a decade. “I didn’t want to bring this up, but when I see this man roaming free, it hurts,” added Paul.

Meanwhile, speaking to Beyond Bollywood, Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association secretary Balvinder Sandhu said, “I haven’t heard about the issue. But we would be open to a fresh inquiry if an official complaint is filed by the victim against the concerned director.”

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