'Rape-accused' is a tag Shiney Ahuja says he’s been "bearing on his shoulders" for the last two years, since he was first convicted for allegedly raping his domestic help. However, life has begun to change "slowly and steadily" in the last six months.
He says, "There was a time when I was released on bail and I could not step out of my home. It did not matter what the truth was, what mattered was what people were thinking about me. I could not bear it. It is my wife who insisted that I step out and begin living with the faith that truth will prevail. I realised that I owed it to my daughter Arshiya."
The actor is now readying for the release of his upcoming horror flick, Ghost. Ask if he’s worried that the controversy and his current negative public image might deter cinegoers from watching the film, and he says, "I am relieved that Bharat Shah and Puja Bedi decided to place their trust in me and see the film through. I hope people embrace my comeback with open arms."
The actor hopes that his two other films — Har Pall, directed by National Award winning director Jahnu Barua, and Pritish Nandy’s Ek Accident featuring Soha Ali Khan — follow suit. He says, "Har Pall was ready by 2009. The release has nothing to do with my case. Pritish, and Jahnu have been sources of strength to my family and I am sure the films will release when they have to. Ek Accident is also complete."
Earlier this year, Sudhir Mishra had mentioned starting a new film with Shiney. Any progress there? He answers, "We are hoping to find a producer for it. I am confident once my other films start releasing, it won’t be that difficult." Meanwhile the High Court has accepted Shiney’s appeal against the lower court’s conviction.
He says, "We are preparing what is known as a paper book. Once that is done, we will file it in the High Court, and then be given a date for hearing. The case is still subjudice, but I trust the judiciary and know that justice will prevail."
The controversial ‘Bai commercial’ rolled out by Micromax Mobile, poking fun at Shiney Ahuja, has been withdrawn after the actor initiated legal action. Meanwhile, actor Sayali Bhagat has issued a statement saying she plans to sue the “dubious PR agency that floated claims that she had been sexually harassed by Shiney, actor Amitabh Bachchan and director Sajid Khan.”