Film-maker Rajkumar Hirani accused of sexual assault

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"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. One of the mails, which were addressed to Hirani, read, "I remember forming these words on my lips - "Sir".

In her interview with HuffPost India, the complainant said she was intimidated by Hirani, who was her boss at the time, and is almost 30 years older than her. She has also reportedly stated that she was in dire need of the job owing to her father's ill health and hence didn't quit it. She added that she put up with it, until she could not, because she did not want to love her job and her work to be questioned, ever. "My future would be in jeopardy", she added.

Huffpost also met Hirani on two occasions where he shares printouts of digital communication between him and the complainant to substantiate his claim of having a purely professional relationship with her. Hirani is accused of harassing a female assistant during the making of Sanju in the recent reports, followed by which, the filmmaker has issued a statement denying these allegations. The accusations came to light when the survivor recounted her abuse in an email (written in November) to Sanju co-producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra.

"VVC Films too has taken the matter seriously, and dropped Hirani's name from the promotional material of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga". While the teaser released in June 2018 said "Vinod Chopra Films and Rajkumar Hirani Films in association with Fox Star Studios present", the teaser released in December past year only said, "produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra". Helmed by Rajkumar Hirani, the film was appreciated by one and all. In an email, she said that much of the sexual assault took place in the post-production of the film.

Anupama Chopra said the woman told her she needed time to think about how to take things forward. "As Vinod and I told her then, she has our full support and we are fully respectful of whatever decision she has taken".

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The assailant raised his arms triumphantly to the crowd after the attack, before being tackled and arrested by security guards. One eyewitness told broadcaster TVN that the man appeared "happy with what he had done".

Vidhu Vinod Chopra did not respond to a detailed questionnaire sent by HuffPost India on December 5, 2018.

IANS tried reaching out to Anupama Chopra and Abhijat Joshi but got no response.

Meanwhile, scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi, who has also worked with Hirani in his films, PK and 3 Idiots, said that he was aware of the complaint and would support her.

"It's my duty to listen to the woman patiently".

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