Arjun Sarja to file for defamation against Sruthi Hariharan over Me Too allegation

Supporting Arjun Sarja, director of Vismaya, Arun Vaidyanathan claims the actor had requested him to tone down the intimate scene with Shruti Hariharan during the scripting stage.
Arjun Sarja to file for defamation against Sruthi Hariharan over Me Too allegation
Arjun Sarja to file for defamation against Sruthi Hariharan over Me Too allegation
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A day after Kannada actor Shruti Hariharan accused Arjun Sarja of sexual assault and unprofessional behaviour during the shoot of Vismaya, the latter has denied the allegations and claimed that he will file a defamation case against her. Arjun said he was shocked to hear of the allegations.

"I am saddened by the allegations and I don't know how I can correct this. I will definitely file a case. I will speak about improving the shots and dialogues but I don't have the cheap mentality of using this profession to touch women inappropriately," he told Public TV.

He added that accusations such as these will dilute the MeToo movement. "I respect and value the MeToo movement. It should be used for good purposes and bring to light injustices but not in situations like this when there is no proof or sense to the claims. When this happens, the movement loses value," he added.

Multiple film actors came out in support of actor Sruthi Hariharan after she accused the popular pan-South India actor of sexually assaulting her during the shoot of the bilingual film, Vismaya.

Actor Prakash Raj took to Twitter to extend his support to Sruthi. In his post, he said, “Let us not forget that Arjun Sarja is the pride of Kannada film industry and a veteran actor. But in the wake of the allegations made by Sruthi Hariharan, let us also try to understand the pain, helplessness and insult experienced by the woman for so many days. Even if Arjun dismisses the allegations, it would be best if he apologised for the pain he has caused on the day (of the shoot).”

Sruthi also found support from fellow Kannada actor Shraddha Srinath, who tweeted that she had known about the incident described by Shruthi since 2016. “I have known about this incident since November 2016, when Shruti and I attended a talk show together and the talk of casting couch and other related topics came up. Sruthi didn't take names that day but off camera, she told us what happened."

On Saturday, Sruthi detailed the alleged encounter with Arjun Sarja. She accused the actor of running his hands up and down her back and pulling her towards his body without her consent while rehearsing a scene in Vismaya. The duo played the role of a husband and a wife in the film.

However, the director of the film, Arun Vaidyanathan came out in support of Arjun Sarja stating that he was shocked to hear about the allegations. "The scene mentioned was written in a much more intimate way than what was shot finally. Arjun Sir requested me to tone it down during the scripting stage itself. He said 'I have teen daughters now and can't perform such scenes anymore'. I also understood the same and rewrote it entirely different," claimed Arun, in a Facebook post.

He also added, "Regarding Arjun sir, he is a gentleman on sets, who is a professional when it comes to the craft of acting. The same applies to Shruthi too. I just received the statement in which Sruthi has called out Arjun sir in the #Metoo movement. I am shocked to know of the same."

Following her allegation, several social media users have slammed Shruthi and accused her of using the matter for publicity.

On Thursday, actor Sanjjanaa Galrani had accused director Ravi Shrivatsa of allegedly forcing her to act in intimate scenes that she was not comfortable doing in her debut film Ganda Hendathi in 2006.

A week ago, Sangeetha Bhatt was one of the first actors in the Kannada film industry to raise allegations within the industry.

While the actor of the Kannada film Dayavittu Gamanisi did not take names, she accused a casting director, a serial director, three film directors and two assistants, one producer, a Tamil TV comedian and two Kannada actors from a family, of sexual misconduct and assault.

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