MNA Culture & Entertainment Desk: Renowned Bollywood filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani has been accused of sexual assault by a woman who worked as an assistant in his last film, reports Huffington Post India.
The woman, who chose to remain anonymous, claims that she was sexually abused by the director on multiple occasions over a six-month period between March and September 2018.
Hirani, best known for films like the Munna Bhai series, 3 Idiots and PK, has categorically denied the allegations through his lawyer.
“I was completely shocked when these allegations were brought to my notice about two months ago. I had suggested immediately that it is essential to take this matter to any committee or legal body,” Hirani’s lawyer, Anand Desai, told HuffPost India
“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,” he added.
The alleged incidents are said to have occurred over a six-month period during the post-production work of ‘Sanju’, the Sanjay Dutt biopic which released in June of last year, according to Huffington Post India.
In an email addressed to ‘Sanju’ co-producer and Hirani’s close business associate Bollywood producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the woman alleges that she was first assaulted by Hirani at his home on Apr 9, 2018.
Recounting the incident in the email, the woman wrote: “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.”
In an interview with HuffPost India, the woman reiterated her allegations against the director, whom she saw “as a father figure”, claiming to have kept silent about the incidents at the time to save her job.
“I had no choice but to be polite to him,” the woman told HuffPost India.
“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,” the woman said.
“Because if Hirani said I wasn’t good, everybody would listen. My future would be in jeopardy.”
In the wake of the allegations of sexual assault against him, Rajkumar Hirani becomes the highest-profile Bollywood figure to be embroiled in India’s #MeToo movement. The movement has seen a number of actors, directors and artists face accusations of improper conduct.