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Rajkumar Hirani accused of sexual assault, filmmaker terms #MeToo story ‘malacious’

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Rajkumar Hirani has been accused of sexual assault by a woman who worked with him on his 2018 film “Sanju” and the filmmaker has denied the allegations, terming them “false” and “malicious” and aimed at destroying his reputation.

In an article on HuffPost India, the woman, who calls herself “an assistant”, alleged that Hirani sexually abused her more than once between March and September 2018.

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She detailed her allegations in an email dated November 3, 2018, to Hirani’s frequent collaborator and “Sanju” co-producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra.

After the article went viral on the Internet, the filmmaker released a statement in which he said he was “shocked” when the claims were brought to his notice two months ago.

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He said that he suggested the case be referred to a “committee or a legal body” but the complainant chose to go the media instead.

“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,” Hirani said in a statement.

The woman said that on April 9, 2018, the director first passed a sexually suggestive remark to her and later sexually assaulted her at his home-office.

The woman said Hirani was a father figure for her.

“My mind, body and heart were grossly violated that night and for the next 6 months,” the email read.

Chopra’s wife, film critic Anupama Chopra, who is a director at Vinod Chopra Films Pvt Ltd, “Sanju” scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi, and Vidhu Vinod’s sister Shelly Chopra were also marked on the email.

The development comes close on the heels of Hirani’s name been dropped from the new poster and trailer of “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga”, directed by Shelly Chopra.

A still from the film’s teaser, which released on 27 June, 2018, carried Hirani’s name as co-producer.

Hirani’s is the latest name to be called out in India’s #MeToo storm, which has engulfed many a stalwart such as Nana Patekar, Alok Nath, Vikas Bahl, Sajid Khan and former Union minister M J Akbar.

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