Nana-Tanushree: Bollywood Has Its #MeToo Moment

What happened with Tanushree Dutta a decade back, still happens today to many more and will continue even after. Unless more people raise their voices and come out in the open; male chauvinists will continue to objectify and abuse women. Its time for a #MeToo movement in Bollywood as well.

Tanushree Dutta alleged that Nana Patekar made unwelcome and aggressive advances while filming a song for 2008 film Horn ‘Ok’ Pleassss; when she called him out and walked off set to her vanity van, Mr Patekar allegedly called on his political connections to have thugs surround her van and then attack her car, with Ms Dutta’s parents in it.

On Twitter, damning testimonies by two women corroborate much of what Ms Dutta said happened on a film set in 2008 – one, a journalist who was on set the day the alleged harassment took place, has posted detailed tweets; the other, an assistant director on the film in question, backed the journalist up.

The Case Against Nana Patekar, In Tweets From 2 Women. Neither Is Tanushree Dutta

The Event

Actor Nana Patekar’s response to the allegations of harassment made by Tanushree Dutta has been to say he’s considering legal action, following that up with a statement from his lawyer saying a legal notice would be sent to the actress today demanding an apology. On Twitter, though, damning testimonies by two women corroborate much of what Ms Dutta said happened on a film set 10 years ago – one, a journalist who was on set the day the alleged harassment took place, has posted detailed tweets; the other, an assistant director on the film in question, backed the journalist up.

Tanushree Dutta alleges that Nana Patekar made unwelcome and aggressive advances while filming a song for 2008 film Horn ‘Ok’ Pleassss; when she called him out and walked off set to her vanity can, Mr Patekar allegedly called on his political connections to have thugs surround her van and then attack her car, with Ms Dutta’s parents in it.

Nana’s Defence

Nana Patekar denies any of this happened. Journalist Janice Sequeira has said that it did, backed up by Shyni Shetty, then working as an assistant director on her first film. “Everything in this thread happened exactly the way it’s written,” Ms Shetty tweeted yesterday referring to Ms Sequeira’s posts, “I was proud of what you did then, Tanushree Dutta, and I’m proud of you today.”

Ms Sequeira’s tweets reveal that she had been on set that day and while she didn’t witness Mr Patekar’s alleged inappropriate behaviour itself, she saw what happened after. When she arrived on set, shooting had been stalled; she writes of watching Ms Dutta storm off set into her van, which was then surrounded by goons banging on the door. She also saw Ms Dutta’s car being attacked.

Most chilling is the official reason given for the disruption in shooting – Ms Dutta was blamed for being “difficult, uncooperative.”

The other person who was on set that day and has spoken is choreographer Ganesh Acharya, who couldn’t decide whether “something happened” or “it didn’t happen.” He said both to News18: “Something did happen that day because the shooting was also stalled for over three hours. There was some sort of misunderstanding. But I can confirm that nothing this sort of happened. It’s a wrong statement that Nana ji called members of some political party on set. It never happened.”

The other person who was on set that day and has spoken is choreographer Ganesh Acharya, who couldn’t decide whether “something happened” or “it didn’t happen.” He said both to News18: “Something did happen that day because the shooting was also stalled for over three hours. There was some sort of misunderstanding. But I can confirm that nothing this sort of happened. It’s a wrong statement that Nana ji called members of some political party on set. It never happened.”

The Twitter Thread Tussle

Bollywood That Took Notice

It seems that even Bollywood is listening. Twinkle Khanna, whose husband Akshay Kumar has been named by Tanushree Dutta as complicit by choosing to make films with Nana Patekar despite allegedly knowing about the allegations of harassment against him, tweeted today describing Ms Dutta as ‘brave’ and urging that Janice Sequeira’s tweets be read. Priyanka Chopra, Sonam Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar, Parineeti Chopra, Richa Chadha and Swara Bhasker have added their voices to a small but growing chorus of support for Ms Dutta.

Bollywood That Turned Blind

Unsurprisingly, Bollywood’s biggest male stars have feigned ignorance. Amitabh Bachchan, speaking at the launch of the trailer of Thugs Of Hindostan yesterday, said, “My name is neither Tanushree nor Nana Patekar so how can I answer your question,” when asked by journalists to comment. Salman Khan said at an event, “I’m not aware of this, my dear. Let me know and understand what is happening… If we see what is going on, I am not aware of what you are talking about.”

Aamir Khan offered a diplomatic response only marginally improved from those of his fellow superstars. Also speaking at the Thugs Of Hindostan event, he said, “Without knowing the veracity of something, it’s not right for me to comment on it. But whenever something like this does happen, it’s a sad thing. Whether this has happened, that is for people to investigate.” Akshay Kumar has not spoken.

And yet, not all men. Tanushree Dutta also revealed that when the director of her 2005 film Chocolate – Vivek Agnihotri, whom she didn’t actually name – asked her to “take her clothes off and dance” off camera in a scene, co-stars Irrfan Khan and Suniel Shetty spoke instantly in her defence.

Also read here about The Biggest Celebrity Beefs In Hollywood.

Written By: Delshad Master

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