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13 Jan 2019

#MeToo: Hirani accused of sexual assault on sets of 'Sanju'

Another big name of Bollywood bites the dust in the post #MeToo era. A woman has come forward accusing director Rajkumar Hirani of sexual assault while on the sets of Sanju.

The charges claim the woman was assaulted repeatedly over a six-month period in between March and September 2018. However, Hirani has denied these charges.

The news was first reported by HuffPost.

In context

Rajkumar Hirani accused of sexual assault


Woman sent email alleging sexual assault to people concerned

The woman accused Hirani of sexual assault during the post-production work of Sanju, in an email.

She sent the mail to Hirani's co-producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Chopra's wife and director of Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI), Anupama.

She also informed Sanju scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi and Chopra's sister Shelly, director of the upcoming film, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga, where Hirani is a producer.


Sexually suggestive remarks to sexual assault, survivor speaks up

The survivor detailed in the email how Hirani first made a sexually suggestive remark to her on April 9, 2018.

He then proceeded to sexually assault her in his home-office.

The woman said her body, mind, and heart, felt violated that night.

Notably, Hirani who is 30 years older to this woman was viewed as a father figure by the survivor, till the assault.

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Power structure prevents woman from speaking up

The survivor remembered saying to Hirani during the assault, "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".

Fear tactics

Fear and intimidation forced sexual assault survivor to remain silent

Despite the woman detailing instances of sexual-assault to friends, she had to remain quiet about the sexual assault.

Her father was terminally ill at the time and she needed the job.

Fearful about losing her job, and her work being questioned, the survivor endured the abuse.

She continued saying, how intimidating Hirani seemed to her since the industry would believe his word over hers.

Hirani's response to the allegations

Hirani disclosed printouts of conversations between him and the survivor to show the relationship was professional. He also communicated through his lawyer, Anand Desai, that the allegations were false, scandalous, motivated to harm his reputation, mischievous in nature and defamatory.

Hirani's opinion

Hirani open to independent investigation, worried about relationship with Chopra

Apart from communicating through his lawyer, Hirani has said that he is open to investigation by an independent body.

Hirani has also expressed concerns about his relationship with Chopra which is 'crumbling under pressure' of these allegations.

Notably, the trailer of the upcoming film Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga has made no mention of Hirani, since the allegations came to light.

Anupama, Joshi promise to assist survivor ethically


Anupama, Joshi promise to assist survivor ethically

While neither Chopra nor wife Anupama commented, the latter assured Vinod Chopra Films (VCF) has set up a committee in order to address grievances concerning the sexual assault.

Scriptwriter Joshi too promised to listen to the woman and help her out.

Joshi further said, "I'm trying to do the best thing possible. I can assure you that I will do what is ethical".

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Most asked questions

Who acted in 'Sanju'?

What is #MeToo?

What movies did Rajkumar Hirani direct?

What is the name of the woman who accused Hirani of assault?

More questions

Who acted in 'Sanju'?

Asked 21 minutes ago by Shaurya Lobo

Answered by NewsBytes

Ranbir Kapoor played the protagonist in Sanju.

What is #MeToo?

Asked 21 minutes ago by Vihaan Singh

Answered by NewsBytes

#MeToo is a movement where survivors of sexual assault call out the attackers who are people in positions of power.

What movies did Rajkumar Hirani direct?

Asked 21 minutes ago by Vihaan Singhal

Answered by NewsBytes

Hirani directed movies like 3 Idiots, Munna Bhai, PK.

What is the name of the woman who accused Hirani of assault?

Asked 21 minutes ago by Ridhi Jaiteley

Answered by NewsBytes

The survivor of the sexual assault has chosen to remain anonymous.

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