Renowned filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani has been accused of sexual harassment by a woman who worked with him as an assistant director of Sanju. The director is now the latest personality who has been named in the on-going #MeToo movement in India after Nana Patekar, Sajid Khan, Alok Nath and several other bigwigs of B-town industry.
In a complaint, she mentioned that Rajkumar Hirani abused her sexually more than once over a period of 6 months between March and September 2018. The woman mentioned that Rajkumar allegedly harassed her sexually during the post-production of Sanju. The film starred Ranbir Kapoor in the lead role and was based on Sanjay Dutt's life.
As reported by Huff Post India, the woman sent a mail regarding the same to Sanju's co-producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra. She also marked Chopra's wife Anupama Chopra in the mail along with scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi, Vidhu Vinod Chopra's sister and director Shelly Chopra. Rajkumar Hirani has denied all the allegations through his lawyer Anand Desai. Desai told HuffPost India, "At the outset, our client states that the allegations made against him are false, mischievous, scandalous, motivated and defamatory."
Rajkumar Hirani Hirani allegedly made a suggestive comment to the woman on April 9, 2018, and then proceeded to sexually assault her at his home-office. "I remember forming these words on my lips - 'Sir. This is wrong...Because of this power structure. You being the absolute power and me being a mere assistant, a nobody - I will never be able to express myself to you,'" she wrote in her email about the alleged incident.
"My mind, body and heart were grossly violated that night and for the next 6 months," she wrote, adding that she used to view Hirani as a father figure before he misbehaved with her.
Rajkumar Hirani denies sexual assault allegations
Hirani, responding through his lawyer Anand Desai, has vociferously denied the claims. "At the outset, our client states that the allegations made against him are false, mischievous, scandalous, motivated and defamatory," Desai said.
The report also states that Hirani shared printouts of text messages and emails exchanged between the two over the six months to justify that they had a professional relationship.
Hirani also reportedly showed a printout of an email his business partner Chopra, denying allegations and expressing his willingness to be investigated by an independent body to clear his name.
Rajkumar Hirani to step down as co-producer of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga?
The allegations have reportedly prompted the removal of Rajkumar Hirani Films as co-producer on the movie Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga. While the production house’s name was included in the film’s teaser, it was absent in the trailer.
The report further states that Anupama Chopra confirmed that the woman had shared her account with her, and that Vinod Chopra Films has since set up a committee to address the complaints. She reportedly said that she offered her full support to the woman and advised her to take her complaint to a legal body. She also claimed that they offered to set up an Internal Complaints Committee at their company even though they could not have taken up the case as she was an employee of Rajkumar Hirani Films.
The #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment, which began in the US entertainment industry, gained traction in India after Bollywood's Tanushree Dutta, in September, accused a veteran actor of sexually harassing her on a movie set a decade ago.
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