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#MeToo: Actor Rahul Raj accuses writer Mushtaq Sheikh of sexual harassment, destroying his career

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Actor Rahul Raj Singh has accused screenwriter and producer Mushtaq Sheikh of sexual harassment and destroying his career when he refused to give in, says a report in Mid-day. Raj is the first man from the industry to share the harassment against him as part of the #MeToo movement in India.

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Rahul is incidentally the boyfriend of late Balika Vadhu actor Pratyusha Banerjee. He was charged with instigating the suicide of Banerjee and is currently out on bail.

Rahul alleged that he met Mushtaq in 2006 after working in the Grasim Mr India Model in 2004. He says he was then offered work by Mushtaq, while he was a model.

“I was the Grasim Mr India model in 2004 when I was 19 years old. A couple of years later, I came in contact with Mushtaq Shiekh. Mushtaq was a very powerful person in Bollywood then. [He was] someone who was on first-name basis with Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Farah Khan and Ekta Kapoor. He seemed to be impressed with me. I was glad because I realised I would get work,” he said in a talk with the daily.

Also Read: #MeToo: Two more women share horrific incidents of being harassed by Anu Malik

Mushtaq soon started calling him at odd hours after offering him work. Once he refused the advances he even lost a film, alleges Rahul. “One night, he called me at 11 pm near his house… He took me to his house, which had a single room, a bed and a lot of film posters. He told me, ‘I am going to do something to you which you are going to enjoy. It will be different, but you will like it’. I got scared.”

He also accused Mushtaq of destroying his TV career in the years that followed. He also lost a film with after Mukta Arts after refusing the overtures.

“I was chosen for a TV serial called Amber Dhara. I was popular as the first blind hero on national television. Then I got a call from Mushtaq, telling me that he was the one who had chosen me for the role. That destroyed my confidence and self-belief,” he alleged.

“Then I was signed up for another show called Mata Ki Chowki. He extended his offer again, that I could sleep with him to keep my job, but I refused. My character was written out of the show soon.”

Also Read: #MeToo: Ex-boss asked about shape of my body parts, alleges Noida journalist

He also recounted another traumatic incident where Mushtaq allegedly tried to sexually assault him. “During another show called Ganesh Leela, Mushtaq’s roving eye caught me again. He told me to meet him at night for a drive. We were on a drive in Aarey Milk Colony when he suddenly grabbed my head [towards him] and started unbuttoning me [Rahul’s clothes]. I got very angry and upset, and told him that I would stop the car and leave him in the middle of the jungle.”

Mushtaq continuous pressure to give in to his demands and the loss of so many projects eventually forced him to leave the industry, said Rahul. I used to earn around Rs 3-4 lakh per month in those days. I owe answers to my friends and fans as to why I quit TV. It was because of Mushtaq Shiekh. I told my parents the same thing 10 years ago: I can’t do this, because I will be forced to sleep with someone.”

Mushtaq Sheikh is, however, yet to respond to the allegations.

Image Source: India Today

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