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Rahul Raj Singh has accused screenwriter and producer Mushtaq Shiekh of sexual harassment and later destroying his career when he refused to give in, reports Mid-day. Rahul Raj is the first man in the film and TV industry to come out with his account as part of MeToo movement in India. Rahul is also the boyfriend of late actor Pratyusha Banerjee. He was charged with abetting suicide of the Balika Vadhu actor and is out on bail at present.
Claiming he met Mushtaq in 2006, Rahul Raj told the daily that he was offered work by Mushtaq when he was still 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 says in the report.
Rahul Raj goes on to claim that he lost many TV shows down the years due to Mushtaq. “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. 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,” said Rahul.
As this cycle continued, Rahul Raj claims he eventually left TV 10 years ago. “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,” he said in the report. Mushtaq Sheikh is yet to respond to the claims.
After offering him work, Mushtaq soon started calling him at all hours. “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,” Rahul says he lost a film with Mukta Arts once he refused the overtures.