Iranian actor Elnaaz Norouzi, who was seen in Netflix' Sacred Games, has accused Namaste England director Vipul Shah of sexual harassment.
The #MeToo storm has deluged India in its waves, and alleged sexual predators have been exposed in public. Women all over India are sharing their resentful experiences of sexual harassment they faced at the hands of men in top levels in various industries.
Recently, actress of popular Netflix series Sacred Games Elnaaz Norouzi, who played ‘Zoya’, which was a significant character in the series, has accused director Vipul Shah of sexual harassment.
Norouzi, the Iranian actress, alleged that Shah made sexual advances towards her during the audition for a role in his recently released Namaste England, which features Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor.
Elnaaz even mentioned how director Shah cunningly kept her in the running for a small role in the film for months without even casting her. She said he took several auditions of her but kept delaying in signing her up for a contract in the film.
She told Mid-Day that she met Vipul Shah when the film was still in its pre-production phase. The manager of the director told her she was being cast as the second lead in the movie. Then she met Shah, who made it look like he will sign her up soon, but which actually never happened. When she went to meet him in his office, the director allegedly came really close to her and gave her a peck.
The actress said, "He took several auditions of her but kept postponing signing her up for the film. I met him again in his office, and again he mentioned, 'We will sign the papers over the next couple of days.' This time, when we were saying bye, he came on to me and it was too close for comfort. I didn't get the right vibe. He gave a peck on my face which I wasn’t expecting at all."
In the interview with the daily, she said Shah would try to kiss her every time she met him in his office and also touched her inappropriately in a hotel. "The next time we met at his office, he tried to kiss me. I backed off, and said, 'What are you doing? We are in your office!' I pushed him away, being affirmative, but careful enough not to come across as rude, because I really wanted the film."
She added further saying that Shah got her to come to the shoot location for Namaste England in Patiala without even signing her up for the film.
Shah took another audition of her there but still did not tell her the story of the film. He said, “Come to my room. I will make you hear the script.” At this point, he touched my butt, and dragged me towards himself. I dodged him, went to my room, and sat there wondering if I should just give in,” she said.
Elnaaz was then signed up for Netflix’s Sacred Games and said that Shah tried his best to make her quit the project. “He said that he would launch me in a big way. It was a girl-next-door part in Namaste England, and that he was clear he would not be able to cast me, as a result of Sacred Games, and that I should skip the offer, since they would make me do nude scenes,” she said.
Elnaaz said it was ‘evident’ that Vipul Shah wanted sexual favours from her in exchange for a role in his film. “I was mentally tortured for three months. It was evident that if I slept with Shah, I would get the part. Every time I went to his office, he tried (to hit) on me. He (would) inappropriately touch me, and (try to) kiss me,” she said.
She added that she didn’t report him to the police as she is not an Indian national and she feared the police complaint might create work visa issues for her. However, she decided to share her story so that “disgusting people to stop misusing their power”.
The #MeToo movement in India started after Tanushree Dutta in September recalled an unpleasant episode with veteran actor Nana Patekar from the sets of Horn OK Pleassss in 2008.
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Last Updated Oct 20, 2018, 5:58 PM IST