Kannada actress Sruthi Hariharan recently took to social media to share her Me Too story in which she accused actor Arjun Sarja of sexual harassment during the shooting of their bilingual film, Vismaya. The actress, who had earlier spoken about casting couch, posted a Me Too story on Facebook. The actress revealed that how during a rehearsal scene, the actor inappropriately touched her. “During the 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 29-year-old actress recalled.
While many actresses from the film industry are coming out and speaking up on the Me Too movement, actor Arjun Sarja is getting support from his family and friends. Actor’s father-in-law and veteran actor Rajesh has lashed out at the actress over the allegations of sexual harassment. Also producer Munirathna has spoken up in support of Arjun. The producer questions what made Sruthi to speak about it now.
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Speaking to a Kannada channel, producer Munirathna said, “Arjun entered the industry as a child artiste. There is not a single black mark in his four decade career. He might have tried to correct her as she is new to film industry and definitely not touched her with wrong intentions. She has mistaken.”
He further added, “”Arjun has worked with many big names of South India and never ever heard of such conduct in his public life. So, her allegations do not make any sense.”
The producer says that the actress should have raised the issue with the director of the film and should have filed the complaint back then. “She could have left the shooting then and filed a complaint with the director. I wonder why she is making allegations now. At least, she should have raised the issue with Ambareesh, the president of artistes’ association,” producer Munirathna said.
Arjun Sarja’s father-in-law calls the actor a decent man and says he is not an age to misbehave when he has children of Sruthi’s age. “He commands respect through his good behaviour. He has a beautiful wife and children. I feel it is an attempt to tarnish his image. If he had done it when he was young we might have believed it. He is 56 and not an age to misbehave when he has children of Sruthi’s age,” he told TV 9 Kannada