#MeToo: Actor Arjun Sarja slaps Rs 5 crore defamation suit against Sruthi Hariharan

Updated: Oct 30, 2018, 10:22 IST | mid-day online desk |

Arjun Sarja's friend Prashanth Sambaragi said a defamation suit of Rs five crore has been filed against the actress. Unfazed by the police complaint and court cases against her, Sruthi Hariharan too was adamant

Representational picture
Representational picture

Days after actress Sruthi Hariharan accused him of behaving in an "unprofessional" manner, South Indian actor Arjun Sarja Thursday filed a Rs five crore defamation suit against her. The actor's manager Shivarjun also lodged a complaint against the actress at the Cyber Crime police station.

Attempts by the Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce to bring about a rapprochement between the two failed as they stuck to their respective stands.

Kicking up a storm in the Kannada film industry, the actress had accused Sarja of behaving with her in "lewd and complete unprofessional" manner during the shooting of a movie two years ago. Senior filmmakers such as Ambarish, Sa Ra Govindu, Congress MLA and filmmaker Munirathna and Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce president Chinne Gowda were present at the KFCC office as attempts were made to bring the two artistes to the negotiation table. Sruthi Hariharan and Sarja came there but they remained adamant on their stand and the KFCC could not arrive at any compromise.

"There is no question of compromise because the pain is intense. Not only me, but my family, friends and above all, my fans in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are deeply hurt. I don't want others to be sacrificed like this. Hence, we have gone to court. You will come to know in the coming days who are behind this campaign against me," Sarja told reporters after the meeting.

Sarja said he has already approached the court and it would be improper on his part to speak on a sub-judice matter. Sarja's friend Prashanth Sambaragi said a defamation suit of Rs five crore has been filed against the actress. Unfazed by the police complaint and court cases against her, Sruthi Hariharan too was adamant. "Our society has stooped so low that if something wrong happens to the girl she is victimised. Why should I seek apologies when I had faced the problem?" she said.

Meanwhile, two more Kannada film personalities, including director Ravi Srivatsa, have been accused of sexual harassment by two women. Actress Sanjjanaa Galrani alleged she was harassed by Srivatsa during the shoot of a Kannada movie 13 years ago, while activist Ekta M shared an account of her close friend accusing screenwriter of a popular contemporary movie of seeking sexual favours.

Srivatsa rejected the charge and accused Galrani of making baseless allegations. Galrani claimed Srivatsa forced her to perform in certain intimate scenes for the film 'Ganda Hendathi' (husband and wife), a remake of Bollywood movie 'Murder'.

In an interview to a newspaper in Hyderabad, Galrani said despite her willingness she was forced to do a kissing scene repeatedly for many days. When she objected to it, the director scolded her for teaching him how to shoot a scene. She also alleged cameras were fixed at places about which she had no idea.

Srivatsa questioned Galrani's silence all these years. "My 25 years of career in the film industry is ruined due to the allegation. Why she was silent for all these years?" he said.

Ekta, working with 'Maraa'- a media and arts collective - said she was sharing her close friend's account, though she did not reveal her identity. She said her friend wanted to build a career in contemporary movies after watching the film in which the screenwriter had worked. Ekta claimed her friend saw a mentor in the screenwriter but he turned out to be a predator seeking sexual favours from her.

In her account, the anonymous friend had claimed, "On a certain occasion, he expressed that he felt sexually attracted to me. I came up with a few excuses and went back home... I decided to talk this out with him. We met. told him clearly that I am looking for a mentor. I am not interested in any romantic ventures in my life at the moment."

Also Read: #MeToo effect: John Abraham drops Vicky Sidana from Batla House credit roll

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Edited by mid-day online desk, with inputs from PTI

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