Bollywood actor Arshad Warsi has become the fourth top name in the industry to defend Rajkumar Hirani on MeToo allegations. Calling Hirani a ‘fabulous gentleman,’ Arshad said that he had never seen ‘one wrong thing about him.’
“I personally don’t like to jump to conclusions and pass my judgement and suddenly start looking at a person differently. I cannot do that. It’s not right to do that. What I feel about Rajkumar Hirani? I think he is a fabulous gentleman. He is a lovely guy. My association with him is so long and I have never seen one wrong thing about him,” Arshad, who worked with Hirani in his famous Munna Bhai series, was quoted by IANS.
His defence of Hirani came after Boney Kapoor, Dia Mirza and Sharman Joshi also supported the famous Bollywood filmmaker. Speaking to news agency ANI, Boney Kapoor had said, “I don’t believe this allegation. He can never do something like this.” Sharman, who acted in Hirani hit film 3 Idiots, had tweeted, “Raju sir, is a man of immense integrity, character, honour, compassion and truthfulness, all the virtues one would imagine are non-existent in people today, someone I am absolutely inspired by and have learnt from and because of whom I believe I have gone onto being a better person.”
— Sharman Joshi (@TheSharmanJoshi) January 14, 2019
Dia Mirza, who acted in Hirani’s films Sanju and Lage Raho Munna Bhai, had told news agency PTI that she was ‘deeply distressed by this news.’ She added, “As someone who has known and respects Raju sir for 15 years I can only hope that a due official enquiry is conducted. He is one of the most decent human beings I have ever worked with and I think it would be grossly unjust on my part to speak on this as I do not know the details.”
An unnamed woman had earlier this week accused Hirani of sexually assaulting her for six months when she worked with him on his 2018 film Sanju. Hirani has denied the charges as his lawyer Anand Desai termed the allegations ‘false, mischievous, scandalous, motivated and defamatory.’
Allegations by former woman employee
The woman, according to Huffpost India, had written in her email that Hirani had first passed sexually suggestive remarks to her on 9 April, last year. He, according to the woman, later sexually assaulted her at his home office.
“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 – I will never be able to express myself to you’,”she wrote in her email, according to Huffpost India.
The woman added, “My mind, body and heart were grossly violated that night and for the next 6 months.” She said that she was unable to quit her job and go public with her experience since her father was terminally ill and no one would have given her a job if Hirani spoke ill about her. The complainant also said that she was ‘intimidated by Hirani,’ who was her reporting person at the time adding that she had no option but to maintain a facade of normalcy.
“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,” she added.
Anupama Chopra confirmed receiving her email adding that Vinod Chopra Films has since set up a committee to address complaints of sexual harassment.