Director of ‘Sanju’ Rajkumar Hirani Accused of Sexual Harassment

Brunilde Fioravanti
Gennaio 14, 2019

Bollywood director Rajkumar Hirani has been accused of sexual assault by a woman who worked with him during the making of film Sanju, according to a report in the website Huffington Post. The complainant placed allegations against him that he sexually assaulted her over a period of 6 months between March and September 2018.

In an interview with the HuffPost India, the woman reiterated the allegations and said that she was even intimidated by Hirani.

Chopra's wife Anupama, scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi and Chopra's sister Shelly were also marked in the email.

Hirani allegedly made a suggestive comment to the woman on April 9, 2018, and then proceeded to sexually assault her at his home-office. This is wrong. Because of this power structure. However, his wife Anupama in an email to HuffPost said that the woman had shared her account with her, and she had their full support.

"I was anxious that if I left midway, it would be impossible to find another job in this industry if he were to speak badly about my work", she said.

The complainant said Hirani used to be her father figure.

She further added, "Because if Hirani said I wasn't good, everybody would listen". He has denied the allegation.

In a statement, the film-maker said, "I was completely shocked when these allegations were brought to my notice about two months back".

"I have offered my full support and recommended that she take the complaint to a legal body or a neutral party since we can not be arbitrators or judges on this". The complainant has chosen to go to the media instead.

He also reportedly showed text messages between him and the woman that were exchanged during those six months to prove the two had just a professional relationship.

Mr Hirani, one of India's most successful filmmakers, is known for a string of blockbusters, from Munna Bhai 3 Idiots. Hirani also wrote he was disturbed that his relationship with Chopra was "crumbling under pressure". However, the allegation was against Rajkumar Hirani, and hence the VCF ICC could not take up the case as Rajkumar Hirani Films is a separate company. While last week there were reports about his name being dropped out from the posters of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, it seems that the current accusations could be the reason for such a drastic step being taken against the filmmaker. She also feared that the filmmaker could ruin her reputation in the industry. She said she needed time to think through how she will take it forward. She added, "I did not want in any way to pressurise her or steer her in any direction".

The Indian Express tried to get in touch with Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, but got no response until the time of going to the press. "I can assure you that I will do what is ethical".

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