Former Miss India Universe and ‘Aashiq Banaya Aapne‘ fame Tanushree Dutta, has sparked a controversy in Bollywood by initiating what can be called India’s very own #MeToo campaign.
After being away from the country for the longest time, she is now back and has accused veteran actor Nana Patekar, choreographer Ganesh Acharya, ‘Horn Ok Pleassss’ producer Sami Siddiqui as well as director Rakesh Sarang of harassing her on the sets of the film. It is imperative to note that it is not after ten years that this matter has been raised. As per reports, Tanushree had been vocal about this issue in 2008 itself and the matter is subjudice in court of law.
The actor also claimed that Nana Patekar has had a history of assaulting women and that everyone in the industry is aware of the same. After recalling the harrowing incident, the actress added that the fact that how A-listers like Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar and Shahid Kapoor continue to work with these alleged “criminals” is something beyond her understanding.
On Thursday afternoon as reported by DNA, Tanushree invited the media to talk further about the controversy. While exclusively speaking to DNA about her debut film ‘Chocolate: Deep Dark Secrets’ (2005), which also starred Anil Kapoor, Suniel Shetty, Irrfan Khan, Emraan Hashmi among others; Tanushree shared a rather unpleasant incident that took place on the sets of the film.
As per Dutta, the director and now a right winger, Vivek Agnihotri apparently asked her to give cues to Irrfan for a scene in which she was not even present. ‘Kapde utaar ke naacho’ (Remove your clothes and dance), is what he told her. Tanushree was too shaken to respond but Irrfan, being the gentleman that he is, immediately stopped the director and told him that he knows how to act and he doesn’t need someone to give him ‘cues’. Suniel Shetty also reprimanded the director.
Thousands of people came for the inauguration of #LokManthan2018 A wonderful speech by @VPSecretariat Venkaiah Naidu. Great to see all women band play the national anthem. Great artistic atmosphere. @lokmanthan2018 pic.twitter.com/VKpzwSNXa2
— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) September 28, 2018
Here’s what Tanushree said:
“This guy (Vivek Agnihotri) wanted me to give cues to an actor (Irrfan Khan). It was an actor’s close-up. It was not even my shot. I was not even going to be in the shot. It was the actor’s close-up and he had to just look at something and give expressions. This director, he told me jao jaake kapde utaar ke naacho, usko cues do.”
“…The male actor had to shoot back at the director saying, ‘I don’t need her to take off her coat and dance for me to give facial expressions. This was Irrfan Khan. I really appreciated that he actually spoke up like that because it was his close-up shot. I’m not in the frame. He had to look at me and give some expressions. Why do I have to dance in front of him for him to give expressions on his close-up shot. This director tells me ‘jao jaake kapde utaar ke naacho’. I was shocked!”
“…The actor was horrified. And, because he had done some work, he could say something. He just told the director, ‘What are you talking about? I can give my closeup. Mujhe acting aati hai’. Suneil Shetty also spoke up. He was also there, he heard it and he got offended by it. He was like, ‘Main aayun kya wahaan cues dene ke liye?’ Yeah ofcourse, there are good people in the industry. Both, Irrfan Khan and Suniel Shetty spoke up. Suneil scolded that guy.”
Though Tanushree didn’t name and shame Vivek Agnihotri, she did admit that, it was because of a few actors like Irrfan and Shetty that she didn’t give up on her acting career until of course the 2008 incident took place.
After Bollywood actor alleged that Patekar had sexually harassed her and set goons on her and her family in 2008, Nana has responded over a telephone converstaion to Mirror Now, denying he committed the alleged acts.
When asked about Tanushree’s allegations against him, said,
“What can I do about it? You tell me.”
When probed further, he went on to laugh, and say,
“What does she mean by sexual harassment? There were 50-100 people on set with me [at that time]…”
In the meanwhile few but some prominent voices are raising this issue in the media :
Really disappointed that no one , NO ONE, from the film industry is willing to talk about sexual harassment and the accusation made by #TanushreeDutta
— Faye DSouza (@fayedsouza) September 27, 2018
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
— Janice Sequeira (@janiceseq85) September 26, 2018
While Nana Patekar has given his side of story as per above, Agnihotri is yet to react.