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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Dia Mirza reacts to sexual assault allegations against Rajkumar Hirani: I am deeply distressed

Actor Dia Mirza has responded to allegations of sexual assault made against director Rajkumar Hirani. She called him a ‘decent human being’ and said it would be ‘unjust’ to speak on the issue without knowing the details.

bollywood Updated: Jan 14, 2019 15:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Dia Mirza has worked with Rajkumar Hirani in Lage Raho Munna Bhai and Sanju.
Dia Mirza has worked with Rajkumar Hirani in Lage Raho Munna Bhai and Sanju.(AFP)

Actor Dia Mirza has reacted to the allegations of sexual assault made against film director Rajkumar Hirani. She has worked with him in films like Lage Raho Munna Bhai and Sanju.

Speaking to Pinkvilla, Dia said, “I am deeply distressed by this news. As someone who has known and respect Raju Sir for 15 years, I can only hope that a due official enquiry is conducted. He is one of the most decent human beings I have ever worked with and I think it would be grossly unjust on my part to speak on this as I do not know the details.”

Hirani has been accused by a woman who worked with him on his 2018 film Sanju. He has denied the allegations, terming them “false” and “malicious” and aimed at destroying his reputation.

Director Rajkumar Hirani has been accused of harassing a woman on the sets of Sanju.
Director Rajkumar Hirani has been accused of harassing a woman on the sets of Sanju. ( IANS )

In an article published by HuffPost India, the woman alleged that Hirani sexually abused her more than once between March and September 2018. She detailed her allegations in an email dated November 3, 2018, to Hirani’s frequent collaborator and Sanju co-producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Film critic and Vidhu’s wife Anupama Chopra has confirmed that the woman had shared an account with her, and that Vinod Chopra Films (VCF) has since set up a committee to address complaints of sexual harassment.

After the article went viral on internet, the filmmaker released a statement in which he said he was “shocked” when the claims were brought to his notice two months ago. He said he suggested the case be referred to a “committee or a legal body” but the complainant chose to go the media instead.

“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,” Hirani said in a statement.

So far, directors Sajid Khan, Vikas Bahl, actors Nana Patekar and music composer Anu Malik, among many others, have been removed from projects after allegations of sexual harassment were made against them in what has come to be known as India’s MeToo movement.

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First Published: Jan 14, 2019 15:05 IST