In a major shock for both the Bollywood and its fans, famous director Rajkumar Hirani has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by an assistant crew member who had worked with him on his latest production ‘Sanju’.
The assistant crew member in an email addressed to theatre veteran and filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra, his wife and film critic Anupama Chopra, and director Shelly Chopra Dhar, accused Raj Kumar Hirani of passing lewd comments at her, and then sexually assaulting her at his home office. According to the email, most of this happened during the post-production of ‘Sanju’.
According to a report by Huffington Post, the victim reported further in the email, “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”, she added.
As she had an interview with the Huffington Post, the woman further said, “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.”
Though atrocious, this is not the first time Rajkumar Hirani has landed in a major controversy. While his previous project ‘PK’ was under fire for the brazen Hinduphobic plot, his latest project ‘Sanju’ was massively criticized for whitewashing the controversial personality that Sanjay Dutt has been in real life.
While he initially denied the allegations, in an informal discussion, Rajkumar Hirani admitted having deliberately whitewashed his character. Now, of all things, he has unceremoniously made an entry into the notorious list of high profile celebrities, that include Sajid Khan, Gaurang Doshi, Vikas Bahl etc.
When asked about the same, the director categorically denied the allegations. To quote his statement to the press as delivered by his lawyer Anand Desai, “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. 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.”
As of now, neither Raj Kumar Hirani nor Vidhu Vinod Chopra is ready to comment on this issue. Even Anupama Chopra and Shelly Chopra Dhar are tight-lipped about the same. However, if Rajkumar Hirani was entirely innocent, what was the need to remove his name as co-producer from the upcoming movie ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha to Aisa Laga’? Moreover, after the allegations became public, the new installation in the ‘Munnabhai’ franchise has been put on hold as well. So things are certainly not going great for either Raj Kumar Hirani or Vidhu Vinod Chopra.
If Raj Kumar Hirani turns out to be actually guilty of sexual assault, it will only prove further how shallow and hypocrite elite Bollywood is. On one hand, they wouldn’t hesitate from painting an entire religion as rapists, and on the other hand, they go mum, if one of their own is accused of crimes as heinous as sexual assault or harassment.