Nagraj Manjule
"Sairat" director Nagraj Manjule accused of physically abusing his wife. Pictured: Nagraj Manjule in Berlinfacebook/NagrajManjule

Director Nagraj Manjule, who is currently riding high on the success of his Marathi film "Sairat," has been entangled in a controversy. At the time when Nagraj is receiving a lot of praise from the people across India for being a socially-sensitive filmmaker, his ex-wife Sunita Manjule has come out in the open claiming that he physically and emotionally abused her.

In an interview with the Quint, Sunita revealed shocking details of her marriage with Nagraj. Sunita got married to Nagraj in 1997 and post marriage she went to live with his family in Solapur, Maharashtra.

Nagraj studied and lived in Pune, while Sunita used to take care of his family in Solapur. He wanted to pursue his dreams of filmmaking, so he enrolled himself in an institute in Ahmednagar, according to the Quint. Whenever he used to come home, he used to assure her that he would buy a house in Mumbai, Sunita said.

However, these dreams came crashing down when his career as a filmmaker started on a good note, she said. He shot to fame with his first short film "Pistulya," which received National Award. Nagraj was to receive an award from the President of India and for which he along with his family went to Delhi, leaving her alone in a locked house, Sunita said.

Sunita also alleges that he made her undergo abortion twice or thrice, and when she raised her voice he used to beat her with bare hands, leather belt and sometimes, a log of wood. Whenever she spoke about starting a family, he would say that he could not afford to get bogged down by familial ties.

All efforts to save their marriage went in vain and the two filed for divorce in 2012. According to Sunita, she was made to sign papers and a demand draft of Rs. 7 lakh was handed over to her as settlement.

"Later, I came to know that I would have no right on his property, alimony or his life. I was told this was all I could get," she said.

Sunita said that she lives with her parents now and works as a house cleaner to make her livelihood.

Akash Supare, a social worker based in Pune, acted as a mediator between Sunita and Nagraj, but the director refused to co-operate. When the daily contacted Akash, he said he was in shock when he saw the divorce papers.

"This is a clear case of financial exploitation. What is Rs 7 lakhs in today's world of inflation? Not only that, Sunita has also told me how Nagraj made her go through abortions for he wanted to chase his dreams. He got his way out, but in the bargain, his wife, Sunita got a very raw deal," Akash told the Quint.

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