On Thursday evening, an assistant director named Saloni Chopra shocked the world when she alleged that Sajid Khan had sexually harassed her. She detailed her horrific experience with Sajid on her blog on the Medium and it looks like that's just the tip of the iceberg. More names are pouring out and it's getting ugly. Now another big name, Pyaar Ka Punchnama director Luv Ranjan, accused of sexual misconduct. An actress spoke to Mid-day about how Ranjan misbehaved with her and asked her questions around her virginity and whether she masturbates?
The actress, whose name has been kept under wraps, reveals that she had auditioned for Pyaar Ka Punchnama in 2010. She recalls, “I was at Kumar Mangat's office and Abhishek Pathak, his son, was the producer. I'm not sure whether or not he was present that day because I didn't see him or interact with him. The director, Luv Ranjan, and the cinematographer were sitting in a room and calling the girls in one by one. The girl who went in before me came out with an ashen look and seemed uncomfortable. She hurriedly left. Then I went in. The room was properly lit for an audition and there was a proper camera set up, etc. They asked me to give an introduction, which was totally normal, totally legitimate.”
She says that the director asked her if she is okay with wearing a bikini and doing kissing scenes, to which she said yes. But the second round of audition was a horror of sorts. She reveals that she was given a bikini by a female stylist. Later, however, Ranjan asked her to strip as he wanted to check if she needs to lose weight. She said, “He said they were not recording anything and the cinematographer would also leave the room, so I needn't worry.” She rushed out of the room as she was not comfortable.
After a couple of days, she got a call from the casting director Vicky Sidana that she has been finalized for the film. The actress decided to forget everything and do the movie. Surprisingly, Ranjan didn’t give her the script. When she asked for it, the director replied, "If a script decided the fate of a film, then even Amitabh [Bachchan] would have never given a flop. What will you understand from a script? I will make you look hot, you will have songs, I'll make you a star.” However, after asking him again and again, she was given a weak narration.
Later they went to producer Abhishek Pathak’s house for a workshop. The three male leads were rehearsing for the scene and Ranjan took the actress to another room so the guys don’t get disturbed. He first started talking to her generally about her family and schooling. But the actress claims that later he began asking her some obnoxious questions . She said, “He asked me about my schooling and family, so I relaxed. Then he asked me if I had a boyfriend, to which I said yes. Then he asked, ‘Are you a virgin?’ I was shocked. He said, ‘Arrey, we can talk like this, we're adults’. Then he asked me if I used condoms. The last straw was him asking me if I masturbate. By then, I was scared and asked if I could leave. He said I shouldn't misunderstand him, and called the three guys into the room and asked them, ‘Do you trust me enough as a director, that if I were to ask you to drop your pants, you would?’”
The actress reveals that the guys agreed to him as they too wanted to make it big in Bollywood. She later left from there and told her manager about it and decided that she doesn’t want to do the film. “Then, Luv started calling me and messaging me to let me know that I'd misunderstood him, and that this was his process. I told him I didn't want to make a big deal; I just didn't want to do the movie, and he could find someone who would understand his process. Then, Abhishek called me and wanted to know why I wasn't doing the movie. When I told him [about what happened] he said, ‘If you do such things, you'll not get movies. You're being unprofessional. You'll be stuck doing small roles.’ As for Luv, he kept sending me messages for about a month, saying I'd misunderstood him, but he never apologized,” she said.
Meanwhile, when Mid-day contacted Ranjan to ask about the allegations he denied it. The director said, "It's absurd. It's so absurd that I don't know what to say except that I deny it. I don't know how to react to an anonymous allegation beyond this and am willing to face any legitimate inquiry."
Luv Ranjan tasted immense success this year with Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. His next is with Ajay Devgn and Ranbir Kapoor which reportedly also stars Deepika Padukone. We wonder if these actors will still work with him after these allegations.