As he gains popularity as a filmmaker with a social conscience, claims of him being a hypocrite and not practicing what he preaches, have surfaced.
In an interview with Quint, Sunita spoke about getting married to Manjule when she was merely 18 and raising his whole family, as pursued his career as a filmmaker.She said:
“I think he is embarrassed of me. He moves in the artistic circles, the who’s who of Maharashtra speak to him with high regard, and here I am, someone who has studied only till 8th standard. I think that’s the reason he deemed me fit only to take care of his family and to do household work, but not be the wife that he could acknowledge in front of everyone. Now he has become successful, and I, being the not-so-literate makes him ashamed, which is why he got rid of me.”
She went on to the describe her growing years as filled with neglect and abandonment, and that Manjule would not allow her to bear a child, even beat her with leather belts and wood for it.
When he won the national award for Fandry, Sunita alleges that Nagraj and his family flew to Delhi but locked her up in the house and didn’t allow her to leave.
They are now divorced, and Sunita was given Rs seven lakh as settlement. She now cleans people’s homes to make a living and tend for her aging parents.
Strangely, in an interview with The Hindu earlier this year, Nagraj spoke about gender stereotypes and the importance of women. “I am tired of this world created by men, ruined by men. I want a woman now to build the world or mess it up. I am tired of the man within me. I also want to change. You get unconsciously trapped in male values. You are superior only because you happen to be a man. I want a break from this male-dominated world.”
Probably not the best way to go about it then, eh Nagraj?