Budding Iranian starlet Elnaaz Norouzi, who marked her acting debut with the Pakistani film Maan Jao Na, has accused famed Bollywood film-maker Vipul Shah of sexually harassing her for three months.
In an interview with Mid-Day, the 26-year-old actor revealed that the director tried to kiss her whenever she went to his office. She revealed she was supposed to be the second female lead in Vipul’s latest venture, Namaste England, starring Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra. However, it didn’t happen.
Recalling the incident, Elnaaz said, “When I asked Vipul, he said he wanted to conduct another audition. Basically, I went through six rounds of auditions for the film and he made me feel like the planet’s worst actor.”
The Sacred Games star later realised Vipul was repeatedly calling her back to his office only to try and get physically closer to her. “The next time we met at his office, he tried to kiss me. I backed off and said, ‘What are you doing? We are in your office!’ I pushed him away, being affirmative but careful enough not to come across as rude, because I really wanted the film,” she stated.
Speaking about losing Namaste England, Elnaaz mentioned, “At that point, I took the offer to Vipul. He said that he would launch me in a big way. It was a girl-next-door part in the film.”
She explained how the film-maker even asked her to refuse the role she was being offered in Sacred Games as the makers would make her do explicit scenes. “I was ready to let go of Sacred Games, when a friend of mine made me go back to the makers of the show, and ask them what my scenes were going to be like. I told Vipul that I had no nude scenes in the series and I had read the script,” shared the starlet.
“He kept asking me to skip the offer. He still had not signed a contract with me for 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 flirt with me. He would inappropriately touch me, and try to kiss me,” she added.
Elnaaz could have taken the matter to the police when the incident occurred but she felt her efforts would not be fruitful.
“As a foreigner, I didn’t know enough about my rights. And I strongly believe in karma. I know this happens to women everywhere, not just in Bollywood. No one wants to jeopardise their jobs. Vipul is a stronger figure. They could create visa issues for me. I have had it hard enough here, already. So I was scared,” she concluded.
The film-maker is yet to address the allegations.