Filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani is the latest to have fallen prey to the #MeToo wave. A woman who worked as an assistant director with him on Sanju has placed allegations of sexual misconduct against him. She states that he sexually assaulted her over a period of 6 months between March and September 2018. She claims that he harassed her during the post-production of Sanju.
Rajkumar in his defense has denied the allegations to HuffPost India. His lawyer Anang Desai said, “At the outset, our client states that the allegations made against him are false, mischievous, scandalous, motivated and defamatory.”
In her email dated November 3, 2018, the woman writes that on April 9, 2018, Hirani made a sexually suggestive remark against her and 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.” The woman wrote in the email to Chopra. “My mind, body and heart were grossly violated that night and for the next 6 months,” said the email.
"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. Because if Hirani said I wasn’t good, everybody would listen. My future would be in jeopardy," the woman told the portal.
When Hirani was asked about these allegations on December 7 and 15, 2018, he refused to answer and shared printouts of the text messages between him and the woman. His lawyer said, "These communications establish that the allegations made against our client to you, that have given rise to your queries, are false and completely unjustified."
In an email to the portal on December 15, Desai wrote, "Our client Mr. Rajkumar Hirani has instructed us to state that he has granted you inspection of the written communications twice, the second time being today, when the same were organised in chronological sequence, pointing out the written communications from the “complainant” in context of the timelines of the allegations made by the ”complainant” resulting in your questions. It should now be absolutely clear to you that the allegations made by the ”complainant” are not only false, but are malicious and defamatory."
Anupama Chopra's email read,
"I’ve met the complainant twice. Both times, I have offered my full support and recommended that she take the complaint to a legal body or a neutral party since we cannot be arbitrators or judges on this. We also offered to set up an ICC at VCF (which we have set up since then) even though a VCF ICC could not have taken up the case since she was an RHF (Rajkumar Hirani Films) employee at the time. These are two separate companies.
She stayed at our house for two nights. We also provided the number of an expert on the issue so she could talk to a professional.
She said she needed time to think through how she will take it forward. I did not want in any way to pressurise her or steer her in any direction. As Vinod and I told her then, she has our full support and we are fully respectful of whatever decision she has taken."
Abhijat Joshi, who wrote most of the scripts for Rajkumar Hirani's films said, "It’s my duty to listen to the woman patiently. I am here to support her,” Joshi said. “I’m trying to do the best thing possible. I can assure you that I will do what is ethical."
Image Source: oxc,backpage
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