#MeToo Wave Continues: Sacred Games actress Elnaaz Norouzi accuses Vipul Shah of sexually harassing her
Iranian actress Elnaaz Norouzi, best known for her appearance in Saif Ali Khan’s web series Sacred Games, has accused filmmaker Vipul Shah of sexually harassing her while she was auditioning for a role for his new film Namaste England. In an article published in a leading daily, Elnaaz narrated her disturbing experience in which she said that Vipul behaved inappropriately with her during the audition and what’s worse, is the fact that he didn’t end up casting her in the film, which features Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra in the principal roles.
Elnaaz, in the account, added that Vipul called her for auditions frequently and consistently delayed providing a confirmation to her for her role. “I met him again in his office, and again he mentioned, “We will sign the papers over the next couple of days.” This time, when we were saying bye, he came on to me. It was too close for comfort. I didn’t get the right vibe. He gave a peck on my face. I didn’t expect it,” she said, as published in the report.
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In fact, Elnaaz added that Vipul “tried” to kiss her at his office as well but she “pushed him away being affirmative; but careful enough not to come across as rude, because I really wanted the film”.
If that wasn’t enough, Elnaaz was asked to accompany the cast and crew of Namaste England in Patiala but please note, that she had not signed the film, to begin with. She auditioned in Patiala as well but wasn’t told about the story of the film by Vipul.
[caption id="attachment_152750" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Arjun, Parineeti and Vipul photographed on the sets of Namaste England.[/caption]
“He said, “Come to my room. I will make you hear the script.” At this point, he touched my butt, and dragged me towards himself. I dodged him, went to my room, and sat there wondering if I should just give in,” she said.
After Elnaaz signed Sacred Games, Vipul also tried to distract her by saying that he intended to launch her “in a big way” and indirectly asked her to quit the web series. “It was a girl-next-door part in Namaste England, and that he was clear he would not be able to cast me, as a result of Sacred Games, and that I should skip the offer, since they would make me do nude scenes,” she added.
Terming her experience as “mental torture for three months”, Elnaaz concluded by saying, “It was evident that if I slept with Vipul, I would get the part. Every time I went to his office, he tried (to hit) on me. He (would) inappropriately touch me, and (try to) kiss me.”
In spite of the harassment, Elnaaz hasn’t reported the incidents considering the fact that she isn’t a citizen of India and a complaint, she fears, might disrupt her work visa. By sharing her story though, Elnaaz wants “disgusting people to stop misusing their power”.
Vipul has directed films including Waqt: The Race Against Time and Namastey London apart from Namaste England.