Filmmaker Raju Hirani accused of sexually assaulting ‘Sanju’ co-worker

Hirani’s lawyer terms charges ‘false, mischievous, defamatory’

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Jan 14, 2019 8:32 AM Updated: Jan 14, 2019 8:32 AM
hirani

In a fresh #MeToo row rocking the entertainment industry, filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman who had worked with him on his film ‘Sanju’. Hirani has denied the allegations though.

His lawyer has termed the charges "false, mischievous, scandalous, motivated and defamatory".

The woman, who referred to herself as "an assistant", has said that Hirani sexually abused her more than once between March and September 2018.

In an email, dated November 3, 2018, sent to Vidhu Vinod Chopra who was co-producer for ‘Sanju’, the woman has given details of her allegations. She said on April 9, 2018, the director first passed a sexually suggestive remark to her and later even sexually assaulted 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 the email.  The woman said Hirani was a father figure for her.

The complainant has also accused Hirani of intimidating her. She said she maintained a facade of normalcy as she could not afford to lose her job on account of her father’s terminal illness.

"My mind, body and heart were grossly violated that night and for the next 6 months," the email read. Film critic and Chopra’s wife Anupama Chopra, ‘Sanju’ scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi and filmmaker Shelly Chopra, Vidhu Vinod’s sister, were also marked on the email.

Anupama Chopra has confirmed that the woman had shared an account with her and that Vinod Chopra Films (VCF) has since set up a committee to address complaints of sexual harassment.

The development comes close to Hirani's name being dropped from the poster and trailer of ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’, which has been directed by Shelly Chopra. A still from the film's teaser, which released on 27 June, 2018, had carried Hirani's name as co-producer. Vidhu Vinod Chopra has not commented yet.  

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