A week after actor Sangeetha Bhatt became the first prominent face from the Kannada film industry to speak up on #MeToo, popular actor Sruthi Hariharan has accused popular pan-south India actor Arjun Sarja of sexually assaulting her during the shoot of the bilingual film Vismaya.
In a long Facebook post where she detailed the alleged harassment she faced, Sruthi said she was excited about working with Arjun Sarja as she grew up watching his films. She accused the actor of running his hands up and down her back and pulling her towards his body without her consent during the rehearsal of a romantic scene.
“The first few days seemed normal, I played his wife in the film and that day we were to do a romantic scene where we had to hug each other after a brief dialogue. 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. I was aghast,” she wrote describing the incident.
She continued, “I am all for depicting realism in cinema, but this felt absolutely wrong. His intent seemed anything but professional. I hated that he did it and angry that I didn't know what to say then.”
She also stated no other actor she has worked with suggested such improvisation.
However, this was not the only incident. She further alleged, “During the course of production, every smutty innuendo he made, created an unpalatable work environment for me. His salacious invitations to meet him after work appalled me.”