Veteran director Rajkumar Hirani accused of sexual harassment

Monitoring Desk

MUMBAI: Ranbir Kapoor starrer Sanju turned out to be one of the best films of 2018. Helmed by Rajkumar Hirani, the film was appreciated by one and all. A few months later now, the director of the film is making headlines, but this time for all the wrong reasons.

According to the latest report in Huffington Post, Rajkumar Hirani has been accused of sexual harassment by a woman who was working with him on Sanju. The woman has accused him of sexually abusing her more than once over a period of six months, precisely between March and September 2018.

The alleged assault happened during the post-production work of Sanju and the same was mentioned by the woman in an email addressed to producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra. His wife and film critic, Anupama Chopra was also marked on the mail along with a director of Vinod Chopra Films Pvt. Ltd and scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi.

Rajkumar Hirani has denied all such allegations through his lawyer, Anand Desai. In an e-mail to Huffington Post, Desai said, “At the outset, our client states that the allegations made against him are false, mischievous, scandalous, motivated and defamatory,”

In her e-mail dated November 3, 2018, the woman wrote, “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. My mind, body and heart were grossly violated that night and for the next 6 months,”

She even stated that on April 9, 2018, Hirani first made a sexually suggestive remark to her and then sexually assaulted her at his home office. Talking about the incident in an interview with Huffington Post, the alleged victim said, “I had no choice but to be polite to him. It was unbearable but the reason I endured it all until I couldn’t, was because I didn’t want my job to be taken away from me, and work to be questioned. Ever. I was worried 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 further added, “Because if Hirani said I wasn’t good, everybody would listen. My future would be in jeopardy.”

Releasing another official statement in his response, Rajkumar Hirani has now said, “I was completely shocked when these allegations were brought to my notice about two months back. I had suggested immediately that it is essential to take this matter to any committee or any legal body. The complainant has chosen to go to the media instead. I want to very strongly state that this is a false malicious and mischievous story being spread with the sole intention of destroying my reputation.”