Sanju director Rajkumar Hirani has issued a statement in which he has denied sexually assaulting an employee of his production company. The alleged incident was reported on the Huffington Post website on Sunday. According to the report, an unidentified woman alleged that Hirani had sexually assaulted her in his office in April 2018.
The woman sent an email about the alleged assault to Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Hirani’s long-time collaborator and one of the three producers on the 2018 biopic Sanju, the website reported.
Hirani denied the assault when contacted by Huffington Post. In a separate statement, Hirani said, “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.”
The 56-year-old director and producer has made some of Bollywood’s biggest hits, including 3 Idiots (2009) and PK (2014). The complainant was an employee of his company, Rajkumar Hirani Films, and was a part of the team that worked on Sanju, the Sanjay Dutt biopic 2018. Hirani’s most recent production is Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga, starring Sonam Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao and co-produced with Vidhu Vinod Chopra Films. The movie is scheduled for a February 1 release.
Journalist Anupama Chopra, who is a director in her husband Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s company, and Hirani’s frequent writing partner Abhijat Joshi confirmed receiving the email complaint. Joshi told Huffington Post, “It’s my duty to listen to the woman patiently. I am here to support her. I’m trying to do the best thing possible. I can assure you that I will do what is ethical.”