Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta created a stir in Bollywood, when she alleged that she was sexually harassed by Nana Patekar on the set of 2008 film Horn OK Pleassss. The news quickly grabbed spotlight in media and soon a lot of reactions poured in from all corners of the industry. She also said that Ganesh Acharya, the choreographer of that film, introduced lewd dance moves at the actor’s behest.
In an interview with Zoom TV, she said that Nana wanted an intimate step with her which was not part of the contract, as it was supposed to be a solo sequence. As per Tanushree, Nana moved away the choreographers, and told everyone that he will teach her dance. This made the actress very uncomfortable. She also said that Nana called MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) party’s goons on set, and they vandalised her car, which is video documented. She has also said that she spoke about this issue long back but no one believed her and stood up for her and even now.
“In the new future we’ll have cases coming forward. So let’s not generalise this thing. There are people who are genuinely supporting me and those are the people who I would like to focus on. But ya, thanks to each and every person who tweeted. It’s great.”
As the incident is being debated today, journalist Janice Sequeira (who at that time was with a news channel) came in support of her and narrated the entire incident that she saw on the sets of the movie and later heard it from Tanushree herself.
— Janice Sequeira (@janiceseq85) September 26, 2018
In another allegation she said that Chocolate director Vivek Agnihotri asked her to strip and dance in 2005. And when she was asked to do so, actors Sunil Shetty and Irrfan Khan came to her rescue.
When Nana was asked about this incident, he said that there were at least 1000 people on set and even threatened to take a legal action against the actress.
Asked for his opinion, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan gave a completely unexpected reply by saying that “neither is my name Tanushree, nor Nana Patekar”. Big B choosing to remain silent has not gone well with many as they wanted him to be proactive in supporting the #MeToo moment. In addition, actor Aamir Khan also chose not to speak anything in this matter. Khan said it would not be right for him to comment but “whenever something like this does happens it is really a sad thing”.
However, there are many Bollywood celebs who have come out in support of the actress. Here is the list:
Please read this thread before judging or shaming #TanushreeDutta a working environment without harassment and intimidation is a fundamental right and by speaking up this brave woman helps pave the way towards that very goal for all of us! https://t.co/f8Nj9YWRvE
— Twinkle Khanna (@mrsfunnybones) September 28, 2018
Koena Mitra, who has worked in films like Musafir, Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena, in an interview, said:
“Let’s be honest, we need this Gundagiri to stop! We need to stop the men in the industry from dictating the narrative. Listen, I am not a man-hater, neither am I a feminist, but I have been a part of the industry too long to know how it operates.”
In a Facebook post, she said Tanushree’s story resonate with her.
This thread is very telling. @janiceseq85 was there at the time of the incident being debated today. Even when #TanushreeDutta had career concerns to keep quiet 10 years ago she did not & her story hasn’t changed now. Her courage should be admired, not her intention questioned. https://t.co/Ola3MNdmtS
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) September 27, 2018
Priyanka Chopra (but not naming Tanushree)
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) September 28, 2018
Swara had posted a video of Tanushree speaking about the incident and wrote, “#IBelieveTanushreeDutta.”
“It hurts to be #TanushreeDutta rn. To be alone, questioned. No woman wants publicity that opens the floodgates of trolling and insensitivity.What happened to her on set was intimidation.Her only fault was she didn’t back down-takes a special courage to be #TanushreeDutta.”
There is no doubt that when a woman comes forward against a powerful man, there is grave risk to her career and even her reputation, given the tendency to blame victims that extends even to the legal system. Moreover, she might have to face things like character assassination, tags of being unprofessional and doing it for ‘publicity.’ But when she speaks out all that she wants is solidarity and justice. And as a society we would like more people (from Bollywood and elsewhere) coming out in open and taking up a stand rather than remaining silent or neutral, as it would give impunity to such bigwigs who would want do anything and get away with it.