Rajkumar Hirani photographed in Mumbai.
Director Rajkumar Hirani has been accused of sexual assault by a co-worker at his production house who has alleged that the acclaimed filmmaker abused her over a period of six months, between March and September 2018, while filming his last movie Sanju, news website HuffPost reported on Sunday. The allegations have been categorically denied by the filmmaker in a statement issued by his lawyer.
According to the report, the woman wrote an e-mail to Sanju producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra, his wife and film critic, Anupama Chopra and Abhijat Joshi alleging that Rajkumar Hirani had assaulted her during the post-production of the film, which released last year. "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," the email read.
In an interview to HuffPost, the woman said that she had "no other choice but to be polite to him" because her job was at stake. "I had no choice but to be polite to him. 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," the woman said. "Because if Hirani said I wasn't good, everybody would listen. My future would be in jeopardy," she added.
Rajkumar Hirani's lawyer Anand Desai denied the allegations and called it "false and completely unjustified". "At the outset, our client states that the allegations made against him are false, mischievous, scandalous, motivated and defamatory," the statement read.
Rajkumar Hirani, who has refused to comment on the allegations, however, shared printouts of the text messages shared between him and the complainant over the period of six months. "These communications establish that the allegations made against our client to you, that have given rise to your queries, are false and completely unjustified," Anand Desai added in response to the allegations against the filmmaker.
After the allegations against Rajkumar Hirani came to fore, his name has been dropped from the posters of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga,HuffPost reported. Rajkummar Hirani was the co-producer of the film, starring Sonam Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao and Juhi Chawla.
The film industry saw its long overdue #MeToo moment after Tanushree Dutta revived her decade-old charge of sexual harassment against Nana Patekar last year. On Twitter, several prominent men from the media and other fields have also been outed as alleged predators.