Actor Arshad Warsi is the latest one from Bollywood to have commented on the sexual harassment allegations against filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani. In an interview with Zoom TV, Arshad said that he has immense respect for Hirani and he is in shock knowing about the issue, much like others. Arshad was promoting his next film, Fraud Saiyaan when he took a moment to share his views on the matter.
Zoom quoted the actor saying, “If you talk to me about Raju Hirani as a person, as a personality and how he is, I think he is a wonderful person and a thorough gentleman. So, for me, It’s a shocker as it is for everybody else who has heard this news.” The actor has worked with Hirani in the popular Munna Bhai series. In fact, it is said that he was in talks with the director for the much-awaited third part in the franchise.
Earlier, actors Sharman Joshi and Dia Mirza also shared their opinions on the accusations. While Sharman openly supported Hirani and said the director is a man of immense integrity and character, Dia said it won’t be right on her part to take a side without being aware of the facts.
A report published on Huff Post on January 13, 2019, claimed that a woman accused Rajkumar Hirani of sexually harassing her more than once over a period of six months on the sets of Sanju. The filmmaker denied all the allegations and released a statement saying he was in shock to hear about the allegations that were brought to his notice a few months back.
Dia Mirza’s statement on sexual harassment allegations against Rajkumar Hirani (Photo Courtesy: Getty Images/ India.com)
In his statements to Bombay Times, published on Twitter, he said, “I was completely shocked when these allegations were brought to my notice about two months back”. He also questioned the woman’s decision of reaching out to the media to express her story. He added, “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”.
Here’s what the complainant said in her statement to the website: “I had no choice but to be polite to him. It was unbearable but the reason I endured it all until I couldn’t, was because I didn’t want my job to be taken away from me, and work to be questioned. Ever I was worried that if I left midway, it would be impossible to find another job in this industry if he were to speak badly about my work”.
Woman’s statement against Rajkumar Hirani (Photo Courtesy: Getty Images/ India.com)
The filmmaker’s close friend and partner Vidhu Vinod Chopra has refused to comment on the issue. However, his wife and popular journalist Anupama Chopra said, “I’ve met the complainant twice. Both times, I have offered my full support and recommended that she take the complaint to a legal body or a neutral party since we cannot be arbitrators or judges on this. We also offered to set up an ICC at VCF (which we have set up since then) even though a VCF ICC could not have taken up the case since she was an RHF (Rajkumar Hirani Films) employee at the time. These are two separate companies”.