Face hidden under a black veil, barefooted, with armed policemen by his side, as actor Shiney Ahuja emerged from the Andheri metropolitan magistrate’s court on Monday, it could’ve been a scene straight out one of his gangster thrillers.
Except, this was for real.
Ahuja, in a cream tee, jeans and a salt-n-pepper stubble, was sent to police custody until June 18 on charges of raping and intimidating his maid.
The incident is said to have taken between 2 and 5 pm on Sunday at Tarapore Gardens, a posh housing complex in Andheri, where Ahuja lives. His two-year-old daughter and wife Anupama, were reportedly not home.
Anupama defended her husband to a television station on Monday claiming the whole episode to be a frame-up.
“He is completely innocent. We will stand by him. We love him. He is a man of character,” she said. Many of Ahuja’s colleagues in the film industry also expressed shock at the charges levelled against him.
The actor had made his screen debut with a lesser-known erotic-drama called Sins in 2005.
But he was first noticed in Sudhir Mishra’s Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi the same year, a critical success that won him all mainstream debutant trophies in 2006.
In a matter of months, Ahuja’s career was being compared to superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s. They were both from Delhi, and came from middle-class families, unrelated to show-business (Ahuja’s father was an Army officer). Both had trained under theatre-director Barry John, and risked anti-hero roles early on in their careers. They were also both married before they entered films.
By 2008, the actor had added to his fine resume box-office hits like Gangster, Life In A Metro, Fanaa and Bhul Bhulaiya.
Most stories around Ahuja’s supposed arrogance in the film circles centred on his fees. He is known to have demanded close to Rs 3 crore a film.
He has made tabloid news, mainly denying rumoured stand-offs with his leading ladies. “Strangely I don’t get linked with my co-stars. I get written about for having fights with my leading ladies. My wife should be happy with that,” Ahuja is quoted to have said.
He has a film called Accident lined up, and an American movie Silvercord with Val Kilmer.