#MeToo in India: Stree actress Flora Saini accuses producer Gaurang Doshi of physical assault, abuse

Suryasarathi Bhattacharya

Oct,09 2018 17:47:43 IST

Editor's note: Following Rituparna Chatterjee's report — Is India’s #MeToo moment here? Women are angry and they are naming and shaming their abusers — Firstpost will publish a series of articles collating personal accounts of those who have made allegations of harassment, along with responses from those who have been accused of such behaviour. This is an ongoing exercise and will be updated to reflect new developments. If you wish to draw our attention to instances of harassment you may have experienced or witnessed, tweet to us @firstpost with the hashtag #MeToo.

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Flora Saini, who was last seen playing a ghost in the 2018 film Stree, accused producer Gaurang Doshi of physical abuse in a Facebook post on 8 October. The actress alleged that Doshi was physically violent with her in 2007, when the two were dating. The altercation, reasons of which are yet unknown, resulted in Saini fracturing her jaw and suffering immense psychological trauma. She also shared pictures taken just after the alleged assault.

Flora Saini. Image via Facebook/Flora Saini

Flora Saini. Image via Facebook/Flora Saini

Following is her Facebook post:

Saini spoke to Firstpost to offer more details about her post. She claims she told people in the industry about her ordeal but nobody believed her. She was eventually replaced from projects. As per her account, Doshi also threatened her, asking her to keep quiet for the sake of her career.

"My case is still in the court and hence I can’t really talk much. Aishwarya Rai was the only person who came out in my support and I say that because Gaurang had signed her for a film and she backed out of that project; she refused to work in the film saying that she will not work with a woman-beater. After that Aishwarya Rai walked out of the film. I have so much love and regards for her because when nobody was standing up for me and I was totally helpless, there was this one person didn’t want to work with an abuser," says Saini.

She further adds, "People are asking me about my personal experience of assault because my film Stree released recently and hence they know me little. But there are many girls who are working just as hard, doing just as well. But nobody knows their stories because they have chosen not to speak about it on social media and maybe they are scared of not getting work. I respect the #MeToo movement because people are talking, sharing stories. So if there is a predator out there, at least they will be scared.

Today, I feel so good because the kind of apologies that I never got from him, and the warmth and support that I never received then, I am getting now. I have strangers writing in to me saying they have read my story and social media post. I don’t know whether that is my calling or healing, but either way, I feel I should speak about it, about the person who has wronged not just me but many other girls.

The production houses that I am working for now — Excel and AltBalaji — have pamphlets all over saying this is a safe work environment for women and that we should say no to sexual harassment. They are putting it out there, loud and clear. This is going to benefit a lot of generations after us.”

Firstpost has reached out to Doshi, who is yet to acknowledge these allegations, for a comment. We will update this report as he responds.

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Network 18, of which Firstpost is a part, has received complaints of sexual harassment as well. The complaints which are within the purview of the workplace have been forwarded to our PoSH committee for appropriate action.

Updated Date: Oct 12, 2018 15:19 PM