Oscar-winning New Zealand director Jane Campion is embroiled in a major scandal after complaining to authorities that she was sexually harassed at an Indian film festival.

Campion - who won the best screenplay Academy Award for The Piano - claims the husband of the festival organiser harassed her and made lewd advances to other women in New Delhi in December.

Police are investigating the claims, which are being widely reported in India. One media website described the complaints as a major scandal.

The man, Bhaskar Deb, has denied the allegations. "I haven't even met Campion. She came on the 15th and disappeared to Jaipur on the 16th."

The Times of India reported Pakistani director Ayesha Arif Khan's allegations that she was "repeatedly mauled by a drunken Bhaskar and constantly offered alcohol".

The newspaper quoted Saugata Roy, the Minister of State for Urban Development, as saying: "We have received complaints from two women who attended the film festival, Jane Campion and Ayesha Khan. The matter is now under investigation."

Campion also reportedly described the India International Women's Film Festival as a scandalous fraud, saying she only attended because organisers told her it was being backed by the Ministry of Urban Development.

"I am not the only filmmaker to be badly treated. Many other women experienced rude and even lewd advances from the husband of the festival director and all felt shocked and angry that such a brazen fraud could be allowed to proceed unimpeded by the Indian authorities," Campion reportedly wrote in her complaint.

- staff reporter