In a recent interview, Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta claimed that she was sexual harassed by veteran actor Nana Patekar in 2008 on the sets of movie “Horn Ok Pleassss”. According to her, Nana Patekar asked producer to add intimate scene in one of the dance sequences, where Tanushree was supposed to perform alone.
Here is what she said.
He misbehaved on the sets. He was being aggressive and was pushing me around. I complained about him, but it was not heard. They (film crew) were forcing me to do an intimate step. My contract stated that it was a solo dance sequence, and it was not supposed to be a duet. It was a way to manipulate me. This was the whole harassment situation going on.
Here’s a glimpse of the interview.
She said her complaint to the producer went unaddressed and her family was also attacked on the set after she refused to get intimate with Patekar on the set.
When she first opened up, internet attacked her and questioned her credibility. Even choreographer Ganesh Acharya denied credibility of the incident.
But later a veteran journalist came out with the story that backs Tanushree’s version.
Journalist Janice Sequeira shared entire incident in a Twitter thread.
— Janice Sequeira (@janiceseq85) September 26, 2018
Here is what the thread says.
Sometimes, incidents that take place even a decade ago remain fresh in your memory. What happened with #TanushreeDutta on the sets of “Horn Ok Please” is one such incident – I was there. #NanaPatekar
I was a cub reporter in 2008, assigned by AajTak and Headlines Today to cover the Behind the scenes of a song being shot for this film. When I arrived, I was told shooting had been stalled because the actress, Tanushree Dutta was upset. As I entered the set, I could see that Tanushree was visibly upset about something. #NanaPatekar, choreographer Ganesh Acharya and a man (who I later found was the film’s producer) were having a conversation, while 50-odd dancers sat waiting.
A while later, shooting resumed. Tanushree resumed work, and a couple shots later, #NanaPatekar joined her. Not long after that, Tanushree walked off set. Shooting halted again.
Tanushree remained locked in her vanity van, refusing to come out. Out of nowhere, goons turned up on set and began beating up the vanity van door. I was told the producers had called them to set to help get their money back. Eventually, cops arrived. Amidst this chaos, I got hold of #NanaPatekar to get a sense of what was happening. All he said was, “Meri beti jaisi hai, mere beti jays hai”, which didn’t really make sense at that point.
Eventually, Tanushree’s parents arrived to pick her up. Her car was attacked, the windshield broken. I tried to get in touch with Tanushree to get her version of events. Around midnight, she asked me to come to her place. In tears, she narrated what happened.
She told me that after three days of rehearsals, Ganesh Acharya changed every step on the day of shoot. #NanaPatekar was never meant to be part of the choreography, but coerced the producers into getting him to shake a leg with Dutta. Later, she said, a lewd dance step was introduced on the insistence of #NanaPatekar, so he could touch her inappropriately. That’s where alarm bells rang, and Tanushree decided to walk off set. What she didn’t expect was the aggression shown by the producers.
The memory of my conversation with Tanushree Dutta, hours after the incident, is identical to the account she’s come out with now. How could a person’s version remain the same over a decade later if there wasn’t any truth to it?For everyone who’s either going to be ignoring or downplaying Tanushree Dutta’s account in the coming days, asking why she didn’t speak out earlier – she did. Interviews by Dutta were followed by a press conference called by #NanaPatekar and the film’s producers where she was branded “unprofessional”.
This was a decade ago. It could have possibly been the first instance of a Bollywood actress calling out sexual predators, and her voice by silenced by more powerful men who continued to have flourishing careers. Now she’s found her voice again. Things aren’t the same anymore (even though, they aren’t exactly different either). The #MeToo movement has encouraged women to come out and speak about sexual misconduct in the West – if it’s in turn inspiring women in this country to speak out, so be it.
#TimesUp #SpeakUp #TanushreeDutta #NanaPatekar
Bollywood came out to support Dutta after Janice posted story backing her claim.
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
“They would not listen, they’re not listening still, perhaps they never will” ~ starry starry night. https://t.co/yJBeIN6zxM
— Shruti Seth (@SethShruti) September 28, 2018
I believe #TanushreeDatta and @janiceseq85 recollection of the account. Janice is my friend, and she is anything but an exaggerator or a liar. And it’s upto us to stand together. https://t.co/sF3mS5o1P8
— Sonam K Ahuja (@sonamakapoor) September 28, 2018
As hugely disappointing that is, given no one is willing to believe the accuser, why would anyone want to step up & suffer the same treatment. Sadly naming & shaming is limited only to women. If you name someone society will shame you. That’s the truth about how we operate here https://t.co/R3POYDQ98o
— Shruti Seth (@SethShruti) September 27, 2018
If a women speaks out about abuse, you listen. Even if it's on her deathbed 50 years after the incident,you listen. If you ask why she didn't speak earlier or you rush to dismiss her, the problem is with you. There will be investigation; but first, listen. Period. #TanushreeDutta
— Siddharth (@Actor_Siddharth) September 28, 2018
In the light of the recent #MeToo case here, I have to say that a man can be greatly philanthropic and altruistic and even be genuinely so, and yet prey on a woman when in power or when no one is watching… One does not preclude the other.
— Sarthak Dasgupta (@sarthakdasgupta) September 28, 2018
If my previous tweet sounds vague let me clarify it. This should stop the questioning of intention of Tanushree Datta because there is a witness account of what happened and @janiceseq85 is as credible as the come .
— Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) September 28, 2018
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) September 28, 2018
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.
— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) September 27, 2018
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