'Sexual Harassment Allegation Malicious & Mischievous': Hirani

Director Rajkumar Hirani has been accused of sexual harassment by a colleague at Rajkumar Hirani Films, who said she was assaulted for over a period of six months, between March and September 2018, reported HuffPost India.

The filmmaker has, however, refuted the allegations and termed the claims as “a mischievous story stirred to destroy his reputation”.

As per the report, the survivor wrote an email to Hirani’s business associate, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, and marked his wife, film critic Anupama Chopra and scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi, alleging that the assault took place during the post-production of Sanju.

Rajkumar Hirani has categorically denied the allegations through his legal representative, Anand Desai.

“At the outset, our client states that the allegations made against him are false, mischievous, scandalous, motivated and defamatory,” said Desai to HuffPost India.

In her email dated 3 November 2018, the woman gave details of the encounter with Hirani in his office.

As per HuffPost India, the woman “said that on 9 April 2018, Hirani first made a sexually suggestive remark to her, and then 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 of the 9 April incident in the email to Chopra. Until the assault, the woman wrote in her email, she saw Hirani as a father figure.

“My mind, body and heart were grossly violated that night and for the next 6 months,” the email said of the period that followed.

Responding to the allegations, Hirani has 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,” Hirani said.

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In an interview with HuffPost, she reportedly said that she did not file the complaint immediately because she feared she would lose her job, which she needed for the treatment for her father’s terminal illness.

“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.”

Hirani has shared text and email interactions with the woman, with HuffPost India.

“These communications establish that the allegations made against our client to you, that have given rise to your queries, are false and completely unjustified,” Hirani’s lawyer Desai said to HuffPost India.

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The Munnabhai MBBS and Sanju director has said he is open to investigation by an independent body. Meanwhile, his name has been dropped from the credits of the trailer of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, which is co-produced by Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra.

Anupama Chopra confirmed to HuffPost India about the email, and that necessary steps being taken. She has stated that she has met the complainant twice and is urging her to file a complaint, and has also offered to set up an ICC at VCF (Vinod Chopra Films).

“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,” said Anupama to HuffPost India.

The scriptwriter of Sanju, PK, 3 Idiots, Abhijat Joshi also confirmed to HuffPost India about the complaint.

“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.”

Source: HuffPost India

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