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Nushrat defends Luv Ranjan amid harassment claims

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Nushrat Bharucha on Saturday came out in support of Luv Ranjan, who has been accused of sexual harassment, saying the director has never made her feel uncomfortable.

The actor said Ranjan is “an opposite to the personality that is being painted recently”.

In an interview with a daily, an anonymous actor had said that she was asked to strip down to her inner wear by Ranjan when she was called for an audition for “Pyaar Ka Punchnama”, an allegation he has denied.

Bharucha, who has worked with Ranjan in the “Pyaar Ka Punchnama” series, “Akaash Vani” and “Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety”, defended the director in a lengthy open letter on Twitter.

She recounted her experience of meeting Ranjan for a look test for which there will be a photo shoot of different looks they wanted to try – from simple Indian girl to the girl next door to glamorous to sexy for the three female characters in the film.

“They also said that the film will have a bikini shot and an intimate kissing scene, so only if I was ok with that should I come back for the look test. If I wasn’t, then that was ok too, but maybe we could work together on something else in the future…” she added.

Bharucha said that she discussed it with her family and “appreciated the honesty” on the part of the makers.

“I told them I had done a kissing scene in my first film, ‘LSD’, and it was not uncomfortable, so I was fine doing that. But I was not ok wearing a bikini, so, if they could let me wear a stole or something over it, that would work, if not, I would like to let this project go. Finally, in the film, I wore a bikini top with a skirt that is a fact. It’s right there for everyone to see.”

The actor said that from the day she gave a look test for the first “Pyaar Ka…” film, she has continued to work with the filmmaker as she feels “safe, protected, respected and cared for” by Ranjan.

“They have, in fact, always given me the courage to take action against any such wrongdoings,” she said.

Bharucha said that from dropping a photo shoot where she and other two actors were supposed to be dressed in bikinis as they felt uncomfortable with the idea to firing a crew member for misbehaving with a woman on the film sets, the director has been “a shield for us all”.

“Ayesha Raza Mishraji talked about an incident on the set of ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’, where a female crew member had been a victim of inappropriate behaviour by a male actor. Luv Sir took a stand and fired the actor from the film, recast and reshot those scenes,” she said.

The actor said her meetings with the director and his team “have never ever been uncomfortable, even remotely suggestive in nature”.

“I have also personally never heard anything of this nature about him from anyone, anywhere. He has actually been our go-to guy for everything and has never failed us,” she said.

Ranjan on Friday denied all allegations of sexual harassment against him, though he tendered an apology in case his actions hurt anyone.

“I apologise to whoever I have caused hurt, whoever I have not made feel comfortable enough. I apologise for not being able to communicate my intent. I apologise for not being able to make someone feel that I am the man that I have aspired to be and I believe I am,” the director said in a statement.

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