Filmmaker Farah Khan on Saturday defended singer Papon, who landed in trouble with a complaint of sexual assault being filed against him for kissing a minor contestant of a reality TV show, but said the video of the incident did make her feel “uncomfortable”.
A Supreme Court lawyer had filed a complaint with the National Commission for Protection of Child Right (NCPCR) alleging “sexual assault” after the singer uploaded a video on his Facebook page where he is seen kissing the minor contestant of the show, “Voice of India Kids”.
Farah said she knows Papon and does not doubt his intentions, but added that people should show affection to their own children and not to other’s.
“I know Papon, he is a good guy. But there is no doubt that when I saw that video, it made me uncomfortable. I don’t think he meant to do it, but if it was my daughter I wouldn’t like it. I think people should not touch other people’s children, just show affection to your own children.
“I think he meant it in the right way, because I know him and he is really a nice guy, but the video did make me very uncomfortable,” Farah today said at an event.
The minor girl’s parents have gone ahead and defended the singer, stating that “Papon is a mentor and a father figure to my daughter”.
To this Farah said, “I think, if you see the girl’s face after it happened, you’ll realise how uncomfortable she was. But like I said, he is not a mad person to do it while the camera was rolling. He must have genuinely not meant it, but it didn’t give me a good feeling.”
Other celebrities such as Raveena Tandon, Suchitra Krishnamoorthi and Gauhar Khan slammed the singer on Twitter over the incident.
“Disgusting! Shameful! Perverse! This man Papon should be arrested! The girl’s parents succumbing to pressure! The explanations given are ridiculous! Haven’t felt such anger and shame to see this happen and some on TV debates actually defending the act!” Raveena tweeted.
Suchitra wrote, “If anybody behaved with my daughter the way Papon did with the teenage girl I would slap him several times in such a way that no one dared behave that way again.”
Gauhar said, “Wasn’t smothering a child’s face with your palm rubbing colour all over it for four seconds enough as fatherly love, that you had to pull the child’s face then to strategically peck her on the lip? There was no wrong camera angle or the child moving her face mistakenly by the way?”
In the video, which has since gone viral, Papon is seen celebrating Holi with the contestants of the show and planting a kiss on the girl’s face. Papon is one of the judges on the show along with fellow singers Shaan and Himmesh Reshammiya.
The singer, in statement, said he is “an extremely affectionate and expressive” person and it did not occur to him that showing affection to an 11-year-old child, who he had been mentoring a while now, would be taken out of context.
Papon said if he had bad intentions, he would not have shared the video on his Facebook page.
“My humble request to everyone, when you do come across this matter is to just pause and think about how much harm this does to the people involved. I have a loving wife of over 14 years and two young children. There is a little girl involved, whose identity is not masked in any way. Both of our families are being destroyed forever, just by people jumping to conclusions.