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Rape rap on Bollywood director
- Model-actor files FIR against maker of Chandni Bar

Mumbai, July 22: Bollywood was rocked today by news that the up-and-coming Madhur Bhandarkar has been accused of rape by a model-turned-actor who claims she has featured in two of his movies.

A first information report has been lodged against Bhandarkar, the director of the award-winning Chandni Bar, at Versova police station.

The actor said the director had raped her some time ago and later tried to “threaten her into submission’’. She said Bhandarkar began to exploit her, and then raped her, when she approached him for a role in his next venture.

Bhandarkar, who police said has not been seen since 7 pm today, has applied for anticipatory bail. The director earlier denied the allegations, terming them “baseless”.

Saying he did not even know the model-actor, the director added that he would hold a news conference to give his side of the story. Bhandarkar married interior designer Renu Namboodri last year.

Versova deputy commissioner of police Bipin Kumar confirmed an FIR had been lodged. He said the actor had complained about threats to her life and added that investigations are on.

Asked when the alleged rape occurred, Kumar said: “It appears that it happened in the last few days.”

Police sources said Bhandarkar has been charged under the stringent Section 376 (rape) as well as Section 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation and threat to life). The director has only made four films until now: Chandni Bar, which was acclaimed as “path-breaking”, Trishakti, the Raveena Tandon-starrer Satta and Aan. The last two films were box-office duds.

The much-hyped Aan flopped recently despite a cast comprising Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, Shatrughan Sinha and Paresh Rawal.

Bhandarkar was currently directing Page 3, which depicted the murky and often shadowy lives of socialites and attention-seeking wannabes. The film, shooting for which is at an advanced stage, stars Konkona Sen Sharma as a page 3 journalist reporting on the grime behind the glamour.

Bollywood has had many a “fleshy” controversy in recent times. On June 27, 2002, aspiring actress Surbhi Radhanath Chatterjee filed a case accusing director . Chandra, who made Style, of molestation. Chandra later filed a counter-FIR alleging that Chatterjee, 24, tried to pressure him into casting her in his Excuse Me.

Then there was Manisha Koirala, who accused Ek Chotisi Love Story director Shashilal Nair of “fooling her into giving a nude shot’’ for the film. Later, in keeping with Bollywood’s penchant for melodrama little-known starlet Jessica Choksi, who acted as Manisha’s body-double in the film, spilled the beans and exposed the sordid manipulation and greed that drives the film industry. Jessica said she had done all the steamy scenes because she needed money for her mother’s treatment.

The most recent instance of alleged “abuse” by a director involved Gujarati starlet Janaki Shah. Janaki, who was shooting for the Vinod Chhabra-directed Shaque, alleged that the director filmed a topless shot without telling her it would be used in the film. But Chhabra said Janaki knew about the scene and was trying to malign his name by dragging him into a “dirty controversy’’.

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