Filmmaker Luv Ranjan on Friday apologised after an actress accused him of sexual misconduct. The woman told Mid-Day that Ranjan had asked her to strip at an audition for his movie Pyaar Ka Punchnama in 2010.
Ranjan is the director of Hindi films Pyaar Ka Punchnama, Sonu ke Titu Ki Sweety, Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 and Akaash Vani. After the allegations, he told Scroll.in: “It doesn’t matter that I believe I haven’t done anything wrong, what matters is that someone has felt wronged.”
The woman said Ranjan asked her to strip to her underwear to check if she needed to “lose weight”. He assured her that they were not recording her, but the woman said she walked out of the audition because it had made her uncomfortable.
A day later, she got a call from the casting director who told her that she had been finalised for a role. Ranjan then informed her of a workshop with the three male leads of the film at the producer’s house. During the workshop, Ranjan took her to a room and asked her if she was a virgin or if she used condoms. She later called her manager and refused the role in the movie.
The woman said Ranjan repeatedly texted and called her, saying she had misunderstood him, but never apologised.
Ranjan told Mid-Day that the allegations were absurd. “It’s so absurd that I don’t know what to say except that I deny it,” he said. “I don’t know how to react to an anonymous allegation beyond this and am willing to face any legitimate inquiry.”
In a statement to Scroll.in, Ranjan said he has “never misbehaved with a woman, never touched a woman who isn’t in love with me and I with her”. “I haven’t sexted, flirted, molested or harassed a woman,” he said in a statement.
He apologised for causing hurt and for making a person feel uncomfortable. “I apologise for not being able to communicate my intent,” he said. “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.”
He said: “I am not the man that I am being portrayed as. I am not. I never was, I never will be.”
The allegations come at a time when several women, including journalists, have taken to social media to give detailed accounts of the sexual harassment and misconduct they faced. The campaign, which has been called India’s #MeToo movement, has created a storm as several senior journalists, writers and media professionals have been accused of sexual misconduct.
Director Vikas Bahl, former Hindustan Times political editor Prashant Jha, actor Rajat Kapoor, Kashmiri journalist Fahad Shah, minister MJ Akbar, actor Alok Nath and stand-up comedian Utsav Chakraborty are among dozens of those who have been accused of sexual misconduct since October 5.