Actor Vijay Raaz has responded to allegations that he molested a crew member on the set an upcoming film. He has denied the accusations, and said that the incident has unduly tarnished his reputation.

In an interview, he said that he had apologised to the woman, not because he was wrong, but because he respected her feelings. He was arrested and released on bail earlier this month, and returned to set to complete work.

He told Bombay Times in an interview, “Women’s safety is of prime concern. I have a 21-year-old daughter, so I understand the gravity of the situation. I am all for an investigation by the authorities. However, to ostracise me, suspend and terminate my services from my forthcoming films even before any sort of investigation, is shocking. I have no words to express. It’s a very dangerous place to be in. I have been working in the film industry for 23 years!”

He said that he has worked very hard to build his reputation and earn a respectable living in the film industry, and that the word of one person shouldn’t be seen as the ultimate truth. “People are bound to make judgements without hearing the other side of the story. No matter what the outcome of this case, aap pe ek thappa lag jaata hai (you’re branded for life). I have been pronounced guilty even before the investigation. My right to earn a livelihood is badly affected. Am I not the victim here? My old father who lives in Delhi, also has to face the society and so does my young daughter,” he said.

Also read: Vijay Raaz arrested for allegedly molesting crew member: report

Recalling the incident, he said that he’d been working with the same crew for over a year, and had developed a comfort. He said, “It’s how we are with each other. Yet, when I was told she felt uncomfortable, I apologised. This was in front of the entire crew. My apology meant I respect your feelings. But it didn’t mean that I acknowledged the claims made later at the police station. Saying sorry doesn’t always mean that you are wrong. It means you respect someone’s feelings more. I also have responsibilities and I need a job. Mere itney saalon ki mehnat (year’s of hard work) can go down the drain if people jump to conclusions without verifying the claims. This should not be one-sided. Truth prevails but the damage is done.”

The actor was recently seen in Lootcase and Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari. He reportedly has a role in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming film Gangubai Kathiawadi as well.

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