Iranian model-turned-actor Elnaaz Norouzi, known for her role in Pakistani film Maan Jao Na and Netflix’s Sacred Games has accused noted Bollywood filmmaker Vipul Amrutlal Shah of sexual harassment, alleging that Vipul made sexual advances towards her while ‘auditioning’ her for a role in his latest film, Namaste England.
In a detailed account, published on Indian daily Mid-Day, Elnaaz reveals how Vipul kept her in the running for a small role in his film for months without actually casting her. She says he took several auditions but kept postponing signing her up for the film.
Elnaaz said that after an audition with the casting director, Vipul got back saying this isn’t what he wanted.
“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.
Nonetheless, she asked her manager to go ahead with the project. However, it never materialised and Norouzi realised that all the auditions were just a ploy by Vipul to get closer to the actor.
“The next time we met at his office, he tried to kiss me. I backed off, said, “What are you doing? We are in your office!” I pushed him away, being affirmative; but careful enough not to come across as rude, because I really wanted the film,” she continued.
She further said that Vipul kept stalling her and even got her to come to the Patiala schedule of the film. According Mid-Day, one of the associates working on Namaste England, confirmed Norousi was in Patiala for no apparent reason. Shah was merely considering her for the part. She was never on-board. At Patiala, Elnaaz had some awkward run-ins with Shah.
“For two months after this, I would wake up anxiously every morning, waiting for a text back from Vipul, on when I’d be signing (the contract). He kept delaying it. In the meantime, I had cracked (a part in the Netflix series) Sacred Games. They were keen to sign me up,” she continued, adding that Vipul tried his best to get her to not take up the offer and kept promising to launch her.
“I was mentally tortured for three months. It was evident that if I slept with Vipul, I would get the part,” Norousi lamented.
She said that she refrained from going to the police because she is not an Indian national and she feared the police complaint might create work visa issues for her. However, she decided to share her story so that “disgusting people to stop misusing their power.”
Namaste England released worldwide on Friday.