A couple of days ago, the news of filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani sexually harassing and abusing his woman assistant director who was working in Sanju biopic had shaken the entire entertainment industry to the core. But yet again, Bollywood maintained its deafening silence over the allegations imposed on the celebrated filmmaker.
The woman, in her ordeal, has accused Hirani of sexually abusing her on multiple occasions for six months from March to September 2018 during the making of his last year's blockbuster film Sanju biopic which featured Ranbir Kapoor essaying the role of Sanjay Dutt. The woman had also informed Sanju co-producer, Vidhu Vinod Chopra about the alleged misconduct in an email to him on November 3, 2018.
In her email, the woman stated that on April 9, 2018 Hirani for the first time made an inappropriate remark to her, following which he sexually assaulted her at his home-office.
While Hirani has completely denied the allegations and stressed that he had a professional relationship with the woman, it looks like the cat has caught Bollywood's tongue on the matter. However, there were a few actors like Dia Mirza, Arshad Warsi, Sharman Joshi and Boney Kapoor, who were shocked with the allegations, have spoken on the issue. Mostly, they have extended their support to Hirani and said that the filmmaker is a gem of a person adding that it is wrong to jump to conclusions and to suddenly start looking at a person differently.
Here's what they said about Rajkumar Hirani's sexual harassment allegations amid the Me Too movement.
Boney Kapoor: "Rajkumar Hirani is too good a man to do something like this. I don't believe this allegation. He can never do something like this," Boney Kapoor told ANI.
Arshad Warsi: "For me, to pass any sort of judgement or come to a conclusion is absolutely wrong because I don't know exactly about the case. I don't know how much truth is there or how credible this accusation is. Has the proper investigation been done? I don't know about all that.
"I personally don't like to jump to conclusions and pass my judgement and suddenly start looking at a person differently. I cannot do that, it's not right to do that. What I feel about Raju? I think he is a fabulous gentleman. He is a lovely guy. My association with him is so long, and I have never seen one wrong thing about him.
"I have never seen him behaving badly or doing anything incorrect. So, suddenly hearing this, you think, 'How is this possible?'. I cannot say anything till it is all 100 per cent there... One cannot jump to a conclusion. It is not fair," Arshad Warsi told IANS.
Sharman Joshi: "Raju Sir is a man of immense integrity, character, honour, compassion and truthfulness, all the virtues one would imagine are non-existent in people today, someone I am absolutely inspired by and have learnt from and because of whom I believe I have gone onto being a better person. All I want to say, Sir is that this too shall pass.
"I can imagine how demeaning it might be to even stand up for yourself in a situation such as this," Sharman tweeted with a 'I Stand For Raju Hirani' hashtag.
Dia Mirza: "I am deeply distressed by this news. As someone who has known and respects 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," Dia told IANS.
Hansal Mehta: "It is disturbing. I hope the truth prevails and due process is followed to ensure a quick and just resolution," Mehta told IANS.
Emraan Hashmi: "I don't want to comment on this. It's just an allegation. Nothing has been proved as of yet. The director has already dismissed the allegations. Till the time something is not proven, I don't think it right to comment on this," Hashmi told ANI.
Javed Akhtar: "I had come to the film industry in 1965. After so many years, if I am asked who are the most decent people you met in this industry over almost 5 decades, perhaps the first name that will come to my mind is Raju Hirani. G.B Shaw has said: 'It is too dangerous to be too good'," Akhtar tweeted.
Rakesh Bedi, who recently featured in Uri: The Surgical Strike: "It is wrong if something like this has happened. Some proof should be provided if something like this has taken place. #MeToo has become a trend where people are coming up with new allegations every day," Bedi told ANI.
Indra Kumar: "I am very shocked, that a gentleman like Rajkumar Hirani has been pulled into the #MeToo movement. I hope that the truth comes out soon. We shouldn't pass judgments at this point," Kumar told Mumbai Mirror.
Raageshwari: "After knowing Raju for almost 20 years, I can safely say that he is amongst the most cultured, refined and peerless man I have met in the film industry. I'm not speaking as an actress cementing bonds, hence I speak with utmost honesty and with zero agenda here. I speak as a family friend and most importantly, as a woman."
Abhishek Chaubey: "It's very distressing, upsetting when things like these happen. All I can say is that all the women who have been maltreated, have been abused emotionally and physically, they need to get justice. There is no two ways about it. As a film-maker, my support is with them and any help that can come from my side, I will be with them.
"What is very shocking and disturbing is that when you see so many cases around you, what you realise is that there has been a culture of abuse. This culture of abuse needs to change. Men need to stop doing this. Whether they stop doing this because they become more understanding or they're stop doing this because they're afraid, doesn't matter. As long as they stop doing this, we as a fraternity should not support who has done something wrong," Chaubey told Pinkvilla.
Vinta Nanda: "Despite having faced what I have personally, it's hard to believe it. That's what's strange about how we're conditioned by our feudal cultures. However, it's no secret that patriarchy after so many decades of industrialisation, which led to women having to join workforces across the world, is still too deeply entrenched in our social breeding.
"It's no secret that multitudes of men and women in India lead dual lives, one what is required at home and within the family and the other that is required for them to be at work. Therefore, it's very hard to understand what's going on in a person's head and it's very easy to hide the negative manifestations of power behaviours within the binary.
"The industry is frightened. There are skeletons hoarded in many cupboards out here and there's no land left for them to be buried. This silence is what we call 'sanatta' in Hindi. Everyone is speechless. They don't know what to say. They don't know who they should protect, the predators who are their dear friends or the survivors who need their support.
"This is a huge calling for the industry. It's time to wake up and smell the coffee and do what is right because you can't veil the truth any longer. It's also a moment in which the industry needs to introspect. It needs to come out of it's we are family mode, where anything that happens remains within the family.
"It's time for the industry to use this opportunity to become professional across the board. I would be bold enough to add that we should protect all survivors and help them heal but we should forgive all predators and perpetrators who harassed, assaulted and violated them before the #MeToo movement happened. From here onwards we should be strict, unforgiving and punishing to anybody who dares to misbehave," Nanda told IANS.