A Mumbai court Tuesday directed National Award-winning film director Madhur Bhandarkar to appear before it November 14 in connection with a 2004 rape case filed by Pretti Jaiin, an upcoming starlet, her lawyer said. “He failed to appear before the court at the scheduled hearing. We don’t know where he is. Now, he is required to appear November 14,” Jaiin’s lawyer S Kunjuraman said. Bhandarkar, 44, had sought an exemption from the court hearing Tuesday through his lawyer Shrikant Shivade. He earlier said that he would challenge the rape case against him in a higher court. Magistrate BB Pantawane, of Andheri Railway Mobile Court, September 19 issued summons asking Bhandarkar to appear before it and file his statement in the case, Kunjuraman said. Police in 2006 requested the court to dismiss the case against Bhandarkar as during their investigations they found Pretti’s allegations false. In July 2004, Pretti, living in Malad suburb of north Mumbai, created a sensation after she accused Bhandarkar of rape on the pretext of giving her a lead role in his film. Pretti alleged that she slept with Bhandarkar from 1999-2004 as he promised her a role in his films and marriage. In a statement later, Pretti, in her early 30s, alleged: “We had sex 16 times and Madhur made promises of giving me a lead role in his films. However, he didn’t offer me a lead role in any of his movies. At times when I refused, he raped me.” In September 2005, Pretti was arrested after she reportedly hired a contract killer for Rs 70,000 to murder the director. Bhandarkar is credited with making sensitive, critically acclaimed and box office hit films like Chandni Bar, Page 3, Traffic Signal, Corporate and Fashion, among others.