Dia Mirza reacts to sexual assault allegations against writer-director Rajkumar Hirani.
Famous Bollywood personality Rajkumar Hirani is the latest one accused of sexual assault allegations. The director of blockbuster films such as ‘Sanju’, ‘3 Idiots’, ‘PK’ and the ‘Munna Bhai’ series,has been accused of sexual assault by an “assistant”who worked with him in his 2018 film ‘Sanju’.
The woman has accused him of assaulting her multiple times over a six-month period between March and September 2018 during the post-production work of ‘Sanju’. The woman was quoted saying that she was worried if she left mid-way, it would be impossible to find another job.
“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 HuffPost report quotes the woman as saying in her email to Chopra.
The report says that the woman assistant made her allegation in an email dated November 3, 2018, to filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who has been Hirani’s collaborator on a number of movies, including Sanju. The mail was also marked to Anupama Chopra, Chopra’s wife and film critic who is also a director of Vinod Chopra Films Private Limited; Chopra’s sister Shelly Chopra Dhar, who is directing the upcoming ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’ which Hirani was earlier producing with Chopra; and Hirani’s co-writer Abhijat Joshi.
Speaking to HuffPost, the woman says, “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.”
Rajkumar Hirani has denied all allegations through his lawyer calling them ‘false, mischievous, scandalous, motivated and defamatory’.
In a statement, Hirani rubbished the allegations and 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.”
Dia Mirza, who has worked with Hirani earlier, is shocked after learning sexual allegation charges against the director. She has worked with him in films like Lage Raho Munna Bhai and Sanju.
Speaking to Pinkvilla, Dia said, “I am deeply distressed by this news. As someone who has known and respect Raju Sir for 15 years, I can only hope that a due official enquiry is conducted. He is one of the most decent human beings I have ever worked with and I think it would be grossly unjust on my part to speak on this as I do not know the details.”
However, the allegations have had an adverse effect on Hirani’s work. According to a report in a daily, ‘Munna Bhai 3’ has been put on hold, till he gets a clean chit. VVC(Vidhu Vinod Chopra) Films too has taken the matter seriously, and dropped Hirani’s name from the promotional material of “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga”. Hirani was the co-producer, along with Chopra and Fox Star Studio, starring Sonam Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao and Juhi Chawla.
After Bollywood’s Tanushree Dutta raised her voice against Nana Patekar for sexual assault and ruining her career, the #MeToo movement i India revealed many prominent names from the industry including directors Sajid Khan, Vikas Bahl, actor Alok Nath, music composer Anu Malik, among many others, who were sent notice and removed from on-going projects post sexual harassment allegations.