The #MeToo movement has hit the Kannada film industry and the first superstar to be affected is Arjun Sarja. Actress Sruthi Hariharan who called out the sexism in the industry at a conclave some months back said that Sarja during the shoot of Vismaya (Nibunan) with a forewarning held her close and ran his hands over her back as part of rehearsals for a romantic sequence. She said he made her extremely uncomfortable with his inappropriate touch. Post that, Prakash Raj has come out in support of Sruthi while many have spoken in favour of Sarja as well. Arjun's daughter Aishwarya who is also an actress has spoken at length about how she feels that Sruthi is misusing the #MeToo movement, which is for benefit of women.
Talking about Vismaya, she told the New Indian Express, "He usually asks us to listen to the script as well. He had mentioned there were scenes which he was not comfortable with and he will accept it only if it is removed, otherwise he was not doing it. At that point, Sruthi (Hariharan) was nowhere in the picture." Talking about her father propositioning the actress for coming with him to a resort, she said, "I was told she has shot for just about five days. It takes at least two days to know a person. The minute she felt uncomfortable, she said she had cut off the calls. Where was the time for my father to ask her out for dinner? Or a resort, which my father never goes to, or to a pub where I have never seen my dad go?."
She says that given the scenario mentioned by Sruthi, she did not see any kind of harassment or untoward behaviour. She told the paper, "But I don’t see any sort of harassment here. Something that is forceful, which is done against someone’s wish, then that is a #MeToo moment, not this. Someone like Ms Hariharan is using #MeToo for her own gain, but I don’t know for what... for popularity? She has chosen a Saturday (to call him out), chosen an actor who is famous in all languages. Her name will be flashed across every regional channel. I don’t know, because I don’t think like her and never want to ever. It’s just sad she is doing this and even sadder that we have to talk about this because she has brought it out in the open."
Aishwarya said that she would wait for Sruthi's next move as such stories could be fabricated. She also said that her dad was advised to file a defamation suit as soon as possible. Stay tuned to Bollywood Life for more scoop and updates!
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