#MeToo: Elnaaz Norouzi of 'Sacred Games' accuses 'Namaste England' director
Bollywood is shaken post-#MeToo as multiple reports are coming out against powerful men who abused their privilege to sexually exploit women. It started with Tanushree Dutta accusing Nana Patekar. Soon names of Vikas Bahl, Subhash Ghai, Sajid Khan, Alok Nath also came up. Now, Elnaaz Norouzi from Netflix's 'Sacred Games' has spoken about her experience of sexual harassment. Here's more on what she said.
The charges as they stand
Elnaaz, the actress who played Zoya in 'Sacred Games', accused director Vipul Amrutlal Shah of sexually harassing her when she auditioned for a part in 'Namaste England', his latest film. Vipul intentionally left her dangling about the role and got her to do multiple auditions during which time he behaved inappropriately with her. Notably, the role in 'Namaste England' ultimately went to Alankrita Shrivastava.
Keep you hands to yourself mister director
Over the many fruitless encounters between Elnaaz and Vipul, he tried to kiss her multiple times. He tried to kiss her in his office. She was touched inappropriately multiple times, and although she rebuffed his advances, she could not come across as rude as she wanted the job. The message put across was that she would have to trade sexual favors for the role.
A most harrowing experience in Bollywood
Elnaaz said, "I was mentally tortured for three months. It was evident that if I slept with Vipul, I would get the part. Every time I went to his office, he tried (to hit) on me. He (would) inappropriately touch me, and (try to) kiss me".
Escalation, gaslighting and entitled persistence
Things escalated after he called Elnaaz to 'Namaste England's' Patiala shoot. On arrival, he offered to take her to his hotel room and tell her the script. He made his intentions clear by touching her 'butt'. He further gaslit her, promising to make her a star and telling her to turn down the 'Sacred Games' part which might require her to do nude scenes.
The true power of #MeToo
Despite successfully escaping three months of mental torture, Elnaaz could not speak up about her ordeal. This was because she was a newcomer and compounding problems, she is Iranian. Being a non-Indian put her at a double disadvantage against the exploitative Vipul. Thankfully, Bollywood's #MeToo has now given her the voice required to call this predatory director out. We hope he faces justice.