Yes, you read that right. Yet another shocking entry on the accused list of the #MeToo movement shocks Bollywood and the nation alike. Our collective reaction to this news is rightly put across by the journalist Vineeta Kumar in her tweet that states, “Are there no heroes left?”.
On Sunday 13th January, HuffPost revealed that the victim worked as an Assistant Director on the film Sanju and accused Rajkumar Hirani of sexual assault on more than one occasion during the post-production of the film, which spanned between March to September 2018.
The woman sent an email marking Hirani and co-producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra in November, describing the issue at large. But Hirani’s lawyer denied the allegations and wrote that the accusations are “false, mischievous, scandalous, motivated and defamatory,”
An excerpt from the woman’s email reads, “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… My mind, body and heart were grossly violated that night and for the next 6 months,” She states that April 9th 2018 is when the first incident took place, and before the assault, she saw Hirani as a father figure.
While the news outlet checked the email and spoke to the woman’s friends about the matter and found out that her friends were in the know, the woman had sought help from Vidhu Vinod Chopra and his wife Anupama Chopra too. The scriptwriter of Sanju also took a stand to hear the woman out and support her.
Anupama Chopra said, “She stayed at our house for two nights. We also provided the number of an expert on the issue so she could talk to a professional.”
Actors like Sharman Joshi, Dia Mirza, Arshad Warsi and producer Boney Kapoor spoke out, though all of them are shocked, some of them took Hirani’s side. Sharman Joshi even started a hashtag that states #IStandForRajuHirani, Boney Kapoor stood by Hirani as well.
On Sunday, Hirani responded to the matter and stated, “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 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.”
Apparently, Hirani and Chopra’s combined upcoming production venture Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga dropped Hirani’s name from its trailer after these reports. We now await a legal investigation on the matter. Can a man who made heart-warming movies like the Munnabhai series, 3 Idiots and PK, really be a sexual predator? We hope the truth prevails.