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‘3 Idiots’ Director Rajkumar Hirani Accused of Sexual Harassment

UPDATED: Rajkumar Hirani, one of India’s most successful filmmakers, has been accused of sexual harassment. His accuser is a woman assistant director who worked on Hirani’s 2018 blockbuster “Sanju.”

Hirani has denied all accusations. The alleged harassment took place during the post production process of “Sanju.” The film was released in June 2018 and grossed $83 million worldwide. It has six nominations at the upcoming Asian Film Awards, including a best director selection for Hirani.

After initially speaking through his lawyer, Hirani issued a media statement on Sunday: “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 filmmaker’s Rajkumar Hirani Films was listed as a producer on Shelly Chopra Dhar’s February 1 release “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga,” alongside Fox Star Studios India and Vinod Chopra Productions. The credit has now been removed from all publicity material.

Hirani debuted with 2003’s “Munnabhai M.B.B.S.” Subsequent films directed by him include “Lage Raho Munnabhai,” “3 Idiots” and “PK.” All were smash hits at the box office and earned Hirani the reputation of a maker of feelgood films.

The #MeToo movement kicked off in India in 2018 with actress Tanushree Dutta coming forward with allegations against actor Nana Patekar. Other well-known figures who have been the subject of accusations include Subhash Ghai, Vairamuthu, Dileep, Anu Malik, Arjun Sarja, Vikas Bahl, Alok Nath and Rajat Kapoor. Hirani is the highest profile of those publicly accused so far. In other cases, financial payments are understood to have silenced accusers.

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