‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’ director Luv Ranjan accused of sexual harassment


India’s ‘Me Too’ movement gathering momentum fast, thanks to Tanushree Dutta being the torchbearer as it all started with her standing up against Nana Patekar. She accused Patekar of harassing her on the sets of ‘Horn Ok Please’ (2009). Post this, there’s been a cascade of allegations with women coming out of their shells with the courage to share their stories.

Yesterday, filmmaker Sajid Khan was accused of sexual harassment and now in the spotlight is Luv Ranjan. An actor has spoken up her ordeal and shared her incident when she was asked to audition for a Ranjan film, reports Pinkvilla. She was asked by the director if she masturbates. She had to walk out as she was left uncomfortable.

The actor told Mid Day, “It was 2010. I was 24, and had done two small roles in big movies opposite well-known actors, and was in the auditioning phase. I was called by Vicky Sidana, a casting director, who said that the auditions for Pyaar Ka Punchnama were on, and a very short list of girls had been called for them. I trusted him and hence, went for it. The dress code was a short skirt and a tight top, which was fairly common, and wasn’t a problem with me. There were seven to eight girls there, and the strange part was that they didn’t give us dialogues as they would usually ask you to enact the scene. This was supposedly only a look test.”

She opened up on how was she was made uncomfortable in the bikini test. She told the tabloid that she agreed to bikini test as a part of her profession, but followed a normal bikini test was not what she was expecting. “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,” shared the actor.

She added, “Then, Luv Ranjan said there was a kissing scene and bikini scene in the movie and asked if I was fine with that, to which I said yes. He said he wanted to see what I’d look like in a bikini. Later in life, when I gave another audition for a movie, there was a female stylist who gave me a bikini to do a look test in the presence of lots of people.” The worst came when the director asked her to strip down to her panties. She shared, “Luv asked me to strip down to my bra and panties. He said he wanted to see my body so he could check if I needed to lose weight. He said they were not recording anything and the cinematographer would also leave the room, so I needn’t worry. After that, it all gets blurry. My heart was pounding and I rushed out saying I had to leave, and wasn’t comfortable with it. I went home and tried to forget about it.”

Ranjan even went to ask her if she was a virgin or not and inappropriate questions like if she used condoms or if she masturbates. “You need to draw from your experiences and when you can’t, I need to know you so well, that I can help you,” said Luv. 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,” she shared.

She added, “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?”
Post all this, she moved abroad and settled down their. She added that this incident stayed with her all these years. However, when the leading tabloid contacted the director, he denied it. He 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 enquiry.”

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