Almost three years after Sruthi Hariharan filed a sexual misconduct case against co-star Arjun Sarja, the Karnataka police on Monday (November 29) submitted a 'B' report with a local court, stressing that they are closing the case owing to lack of evidence.
The multi-lingual actor was cleared of all charges levelled against him by the actress after legal proceedings and subsequent investigation. The police also confirmed that the actress has received official communication regarding the same. According to reports, statements of as many as 10 persons were taken during the inquiry.
Sruthi had accused Sarja of sexually assaulting her during the shoot of their 2017 film Vismaya in a Facebook post in 2018. In a detailed post, the actress accused the superstar of pulling her towards him without her consent during the rehearsal of a sequence. She wrote, "I was shooting for a bilingual film which starred Arjun Sarja. A man whose movies I have grown up watching. I was excited about the opportunity. The first few days seemed normal, I played his wife in the film and that day we were to do a romantic scene where we had to hug each other after a brief dialogue. During the rehearsal, we delivered our lines and Mr. Arjun hugs me. With no forewarning or permission, he runs his hands intimately up and down my back. He pulls me closer with my body taut against his and asks the director if we could use this idea of foreplay in the scene. I was aghast. I am all for depicting realism in cinema, but this felt absolutely wrong. His intent seemed anything but professional. I hated that he did it and angry that I didn't know what to say then."
Sruthi further added in her post that the film's director could sense her discomfort, and revealed that she had shared the incident with her make-up team shortly after it took place. "Scenes are rehearsed before we roll camera and begin shooting. It helps understand staging, body language, actor dynamics etc. That's the ideal process. You talk, enact, and finally find the balance in a given scene. As an actor, I am entitled to know/be consulted with, about the details of a scene especially when it involves something intimate. I'd also like to share with you that every actor I worked with before and after him, have never resorted to this kind of "improv". The director sensed my discomfort too. I made sure I let the direction department know that I was not interested to be a part of rehearsals and will come directly for takes. I also shared the incident with my make-up team right after", her post read.
Reportedly, Arjun Sarja had quashed the accusations against him stating that the sequence she had mentioned in her post was shot before a large unit. He had also mentioned that he used to share food with the actress as he would get it from home most of the time.
For women in distress help available at, Central Social Welfare Board -Police Helpline: 1091/ 1291, (011) 23317004; Shakti Shalini- women's shelter: (011) 24373736/ 24373737; All India Women's Conference: 10921/ (011) 23389680; Joint Women's Programme: (011) 24619821; Sakshi- violence intervention center: (0124) 2562336/ 5018873; Nirmal Niketan (011) 27859158; JAGORI (011) 26692700; Nari Raksha Samiti: (011) 23973949; RAHI Recovering and Healing from Incest. A support centre for women survivors of child sexual abuse: (011) 26238466/ 26224042, 26227647.