Rajkumar Hirani accused of sexual assault, filmmaker expresses shock

A woman who worked with filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani in 2017 film ‘Sanju’ accused him of sexual harassment. However, Hirani has firmly denied the allegations. His lawyer Anand Desai termed the allegations "false, mischievous, scandalous, motivated and defamatory".

The woman claimed to have worked as an assistant for ‘Sanju’ and in her email to Rajkumar Hirani’s close colleague and friend Vidhu Vinod Chopra, she asserted that Hirani assaulted her in his office. She wrote in her email also marking to film critic and Hirani’s wife Anupama Chopra, screenwriter Abhijat Joshi and Vidhu Vinod’s sister Shelly Chopra that Hirani sexually abused her more than once between March and September 2018.

The woman wrote that on April 9, 2018, the director first passed a sexually indicative remark to her and later sexually assaulted her at his home office.

Her email reads, "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 of the April 9 incident in the email to Chopra, as quoted by HuffPost India.

The woman said that Hirani was a father figure for her. "My mind, body and heart were grossly violated that night and for the next 6 months," the email read.

Upon the fear of losing her job, she maintained a good relationship with Hirani. She was in much need of the job as her father was suffering from a terminal illness. "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," she said.

Rajkumar Hirani expressed shock over the allegation. In a statement, the filmmaker 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 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.”

After Nana Patekar, Alok Nath, Vikas Bahl, Sajid Khan and former Union minister MJ Akbar, Rajkumar Hirani is the latest to be roped in  #MeToo controversy. 

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