The news of a sexual harassment case against Telugu actor Nagarjuna by a Hyderabad-based woman journalist has left Bollywood shocked, and more so after the police has now booked him under IPC sections 506 and 509.
"This is shocking. I believe neither a celeb nor a scribe should ever cross the line of decorum," says trade analyst Taran Adarsh. Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, however, says there could be vested interests involved. "I have great memories of Nagarjuna and feel that he is incapable of doing what he’s been accused of. He’s a very decent guy. Having said that, human beings are complex creatures. I hope my impression of Nagarjuna is true. But this proves that both celebrities and journalists need to be more cautious during interviews," he says.
A source close to Chowdhary says, "Nagarjuna’s misbehaviour goes a long way back. Sunita had written a negative review about his 2008 film, King, in which she wrote about how he was wearing a wig and how the Telangana accent did not suit him. When they met recently, that’s what triggered a heated argument. Nagarjuna abused her and used filthy language. He also told her, ‘you are a woman that’s why I am not slapping you, else I would have’, before having the guards drag her out of the studio."
According to the officials at the Jubilee Hills police station in Hyderabad, the case has been registered for illegal confinement of a person (sec 506) and outraging the modesty of a woman through a gesture, word or act (sec 509). "We’re in process of collecting evidence. It will take time before he can be arrested," says K Narsing Rao, SHO, Jubilee Hills police station in Hyderabad.
The freelance journalist, Y Sunita Chowdhary, filed the case after an argument with the actor during an interview at Hyderabad’s Annapurna studio, where he was shooting last week. He allegedly misbehaved with her and used foul language.
Chowdhary and Nagarjuna remained unavailable for comment.