Me Too Movement is gaining momentum in India with actresses sharing their horrifying stories. Recently, Kannada actress Shruti Hariharan accused Arjun Sarja of sexual assault and unprofessional behaviour during the shoot of Vismaya. The actress shared her story in a long Facebook post and also spoke about it during a media interaction recently. There was a need for an active internal complaints committee in the Kannada film industry, stressed the actress, who was joined by Kannada actor Chetan and film directors Kavitha Lankesh and Roopa Iyer among others, during a media interaction.
“I was subjected to unwanted overtures by Arjun Sarja on the sets of a film in 2016. I could not raise the issue when the issue took place as there was no internal complaints committee in the film industry,” Sruthi told reporters. The 29-year-old actress addressed media a day after she named 54-year-old Arjun of sexually harassing her through a Facebook post.
#metoo #comingout against all odds. Inspite of the all the comments, backlash and misogyny that will follow, I share my experiences below cos this is about a larger change! Bring it on ! #Speakup men and women . It's time. pic.twitter.com/xzjA8EnGjR
— sruthihariharan (@sruthihariharan) October 20, 2018
“During a (film) rehearsal, we delivered our lines and Mr Arjun hugs me. With no forewarning or permission, he runs his hands intimately up and down my back. He pulls me closer with my body taut against his and asks the director if we could use this idea of foreplay in the scene,” the actress had stated in her post.
The incident which took place before 50 of the film’s crew had left her “aghast”, the actress noted in her post.
Arjun, popularly known as ‘Action King’ who acted in over 150 movies across Tamil, Telugu and Kannada languages, has, however, dismissed the allegations as “false”.
“The allegations being levelled against me are entirely baseless. I am shocked to hear such false allegations,” Arjun earlier told a local news channel responding to the sexual harassment charges.
Speaking up about the sexual harassment faced had led to several of the actor’s fans to intimidate her, the actress said.
“I have been constantly getting calls from Arjun’s fans since I posted my statement on Facebook. I was prepared for the intimidation after making the statement,” she said.
Stating that at least four others were sexually harassed by the actor, Sruthi said, “People who claim to be super stars are taking advantage of their popularity to indulge in sexual harassment on sets.”
Bengaluru-based Sruthi, who has acted in several Kannada and Malayalam films since 2012, said none of her other co-actors had ever made similar physical advances towards her.