Aishwarya Arjun stands up for dad who was called out by Sruthi Hariharan
She alleges that Sruthi is using #MeToo for her own personal gain
With Sruthi Hariharan calling out Arjun Sarja for 'lewd and unprofessional' behaviour on the sets of Nibunan/Vismaya, both the actor and director responding to her claims, and Shraddha Srinath standing by her claims, the latest to join the fray is Aishwarya Arjun. In this exclusive chat with Cinema Express, Arjun's daughter says that Sruthi is misusing the #MeToo movement.
"On what basis has she made this complaint. I am also an actor who has just started out in the industry. I have been to acting school, attended workshops with big names and I know there is a method to it. I know that when you are acting, you should know how to romance to the T!"
The actor has also worked with her father in a professional capacity when Arjun Sarja directed her in the the bilingual Solli Vidava/Prema Baraha. "Thank God I have worked under him for a film and I know his style. As a director, I have seen him romance his associate director, who is a man. He used to hold him close, kiss him on the forehead and would explain to me how to go about it. That man could have come out and said he felt uncomfortable. But everyone who is part of the industry knows — this is the part of the job."
Aishwarya reveals that Arjun had discussed about Nibunan/Vismaya with her, her sister and mother. "He usually asks us to listen to the script as well. He had mentioned there were scenes which he was not comfortable with and he will accept it only if it is removed, otherwise he was not doing it. At that point, Sruthi (Hariharan) was nowhere in the picture. I was told she has shot for just about five days. It takes at least two days to know a person. The minute she felt uncomfortable, she said she had cut off the calls. Where was the time for my father to ask her out to dinner? Or a resort, which my father never goes to, or to a pub where I have never seen my dad go?"
Aishwarya says that although her father has been called out, he is not bothered about himself, but more worried about his family's feelings. "But we have come closer and become stronger than ever," she assures.
"The #MeToo moment is beautiful and as women, we should support it. We need it in India because the society is largely male-dominated. I have faced such situations in my work life even though I am Arjun's daughter. It is not that I don't face them just because I am so-and-so's daughter," she adds.
Aishwarya feels 'sexual harassment' is a strong word and the use of it here is frivolous. "I don't see any sort of harassment here. Something that is forceful, which is done against someone's wish, that is part of the #MeToo moment, not this. Someone like Ms Hariharan is using #MeToo for her own gain, but I don't know for what, maybe for popularity? She has chosen a Saturday (to call him out), chosen an actor who is famous in all languages. Her name will be flashed across every regional channel. I don't know, because I don't think like her and never want to ever. It's just sad she is doing this and even sadder that we have to talk about this because she has brought it out in the open."
The actor feels her father should file a defamation suit as soon as possible. "A lot of people are calling us to say that it is completely baseless. She has not been able to give anything that is valid. We all have common sense, but I think Sruthi lacks it. This is not something I expected from her. We all believe that there is some kind of motive behind this as it comes out of the blue. Even if she has proof, that will definitely be fabricated. Let's see what she does."