Bollywood fans reacted in shock today at a report that Rajkumar Hirani, one of India’s most successful and acclaimed filmmakers, has been accused by an actress of sexual harassment.
Hirani has denied the allegations and no lawsuit has been filed. He is best known as the director of Hindi language films Munna Bhai M.B.B.S., Lage Raho Munnabhai, 3 Idiots, PK, and Sanju. The films have won multiple awards in India and are regarding as groundbreaking.
The allegation arises from an alleged series of incidents involving a female assistant director who worked on the 2018 film Sanju, a biopic of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt that was released in June 2018. The film has since grossed $83 million worldwide and has six nominations at the upcoming Asian Film Awards, including a best director nod for Hirani.
The unidentified woman said Hirani sexually abused her more than once between March and September 2018 during post-production on Sanju. The accuser said Hirani started the problems in April 2018 when he made a sexually suggestive remark, then sexually assaulted her at his home office.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, the alleged victim said, “I had no choice but to be polite to him. 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, because if Hirani said I wasn’t good, everybody would listen. My future would be in jeopardy.”
Hirani issued a statement today on the accusations. “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 any 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.”
The writer of the initial report on Hirani issued a tweet:
Fans reacted with dismay at the reports on Hirani:
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