In the wake of the #MeToo movement, filmmaker Vipul Amrutlal Shah is the latest to be accused of sexual harassment.Iranian actor Elnaaz Norouzi, who starred in Netflix’s Sacred Games, has claimed that Shah touched her inappropriately and tried to kiss her several times on the pretext of giving her an important role in his latest film Namaste England.
Mid-Day published Norouzi’s detailed first-person account on Friday. She writes that Shah made her audition several times over three months and continued misbehaving with her but never made any substantial offer.
After a point Norouzi says it was ‘evident’ to her that Shah expected sexual favours in return for casting her in Namaste England. “I was mentally tortured for three months. It was evident that if I slept with Vipul, 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 writes.
He even called her on location to Patiala and allegedly asked her to meet him in his room. “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,” says Norouzi.In fact, Shah even tried to persuade her to not take up Sacred Games. “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 says.
Norouzi says though she firmly resisted his advances, she didn’t want to rub him the wrong way. “I pushed him away, being affirmative; but careful enough not to come across as rude, because I really wanted the film,” she says.
Norouzi says she never lodged an official complaint fearing that it might create work visa troubles for her, considering that she isn’t an Indian national. However, now that #MeToo stories are tumbling over from across all sectors, she says she decided to narrate her ordeal too so that ‘disgusting people stop misusing their power’.
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