Amid the ongoing MeToo movement in India, a woman junior artiste recently claimed that she was molested on the sets of Housefull 4. On Friday, executive producer Manoj Mitra denied the sexual harassment allegations.
According to media reports, the complainant was molested by a man on the sets of the movie. She even said actors Akshay Kumar and Riteish Deshmukh were present there. The police lodged a complaint in the matter after the woman approached them.
Addressing the claims made by the woman, Mitra said in a statement: “It is disheartening to hear about this incident. As an executive producer, I would like to clarify that the recent incident that showed up in the news related to the sets of Housefull 4, is something that evidently did not happen on the sets or during the shoot; it took place off the sets and hence I have to state that it is beyond our capabilities.”
“I would also like to clarify that Akshay Kumar and Riteish Deshmukh had packed up way before this incident occurred. It was their personal matter and nothing related to our film shoot,” he added.
Raman Dave, head of the dancers on the film’s sets, also spoke on the issue. He said: “There was some argument between the boys which happened post pack-up outside the set and the girl tried to save one of the males who was her friend. She tried to stop the fight but unfortunately it was a heated argument and during the course of this fight, the boys happened to push her away to stay out of the fight.”
Dave went on to claim that the “argument was between the dancers and Pawan Shetty, an outsider.”
“(It was) Nothing to do with our film. I had left from shoot but my set attendant Sandra was there on the set and even she has mentioned that nothing happened on the set. All the details reported about this incident failed to be true and it did not happen on our sets,” he added.
Housefull 4 has been entangled in controversy ever since Nana Patekar, who was supposed to star in the film, walked out following actress Tanushree Dutta’s sexual harassment allegation against him. Later, Filmmaker Sajid Khan stepped down as the director after he was accused of several sexual harassment incidents.