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-Radhika Maheshwari

“The thing is that our country has become so hypocritical, and people constantly ask why #MeToo movement is not happening in India, it won’t happen unless and until you’ll acknowledge what happened with me in 2008.” – Tanushree Dutta

Every year thousands of young men and women head to the city of Mumbai, India’s film capital, in search of their own Bollywood dream. But for many the experience becomes a nightmare.

Bollywood has witnessed various allegations and controversies regarding sexual harassment to Casting couch. Recently actor, model, Tanushree Dutta alleged Nana Patekar of wanting to touch her inappropriately and having insisted on shooting an intimate song sequence in the film, even though it was not mentioned in her contract. on the film sets of Horn ok Pleassss, a 2008.

“I want to take names – actor Nana Patekar, producer Sami Siddiqui, director Rakesh Sarang and choreographer Ganesh Acharya. When Nana Patekar misbehaved with me, he said out loud that he would do an intimate step with me as well in the song, which wasn’t mentioned in my contract. It was supposed to be a solo sequence of mine. I would feel very uncomfortable when he would come next to me and try to put his arm around me. He’d grab me and push me around and say, ‘You stand here, you stand there’. Whereas, he shouldn’t have been on the set. And he told the choreographer to stand aside and said, ‘I’ll teach her how to dance’. I didn’t know how to deal with this. This had never happened with me before in Bollywood.”  As stated in an interview with Zoom TV, gave a detailed account of the alleged incident with Nana Patekar in 2008.

Tanushree has also spoken about an incident, in an interview with DNA, where Vivek Agnihotri had allegedly passed a lewd comment on set, but actor Irrfan Khan shut him down.

Speaking about the lack of support that she had received back in 2008 when she had called out Patekar for the first time, and even now, when she brought up the incident again, Dutta said that Bollywood stars were pros at “supporting” a movement like “MeToo” when it’s far away in Hollywood. But when it comes to their own industry, they’re conveniently silent.

Journalist Janice Sequeira turned up on social media to share eyewitness account of the incident – she happened to be on the sets that day covering the shoot on behalf of Aaj Tak and Headlines Today.

“Some 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” Said a tweet by Janice Sequeira

Amongst all the hustle and bustle of the allegations, a video came out on social media on 30th September from the aftermaths of the incident on the sets of ‘Horn OK Please’. The video shows that few people attacked Tanushree while she was returni ng home from the sets in her car. The windows of the car are shown smashed in the same

According to a report in News18, Tanushree Dutta has been sent a legal notice on 1st October by Nana Patekar’s lawyers. Patekar reportedly seeks a public apology from the actor for defaming him.

“Tanushree is my daughter’s age and I have no clues about what made her say such things about me. I have been a part of this film industry since the last 35 years and haven’t had anyone saying such things about me ever,” said Nana Patekar in a press conference in 2008. 

“What does she mean by sexual harassment? We were on the set and there were 50-100 people sitting in front of us. Let anyone say anything. I will continue to do in my life what I have been doing.

I will see what can be done legally. Let’s see. It is also wrong/inappropriate to talk to you (media) since you publish anything.” Reacted Nana Patekar, As Reported by Mirror Now

While many cases have been reported in the past for the same, actors like Radhika Apte, Swara Bhaskar, Usha Jadhav amongst others have come in public to tell their incidents.

As, Sexual harassment is not only restricted to women but also men at work do witness the same.

Ranveer Singh, one of Bollywood’s biggest male actors, said in a 2015 interview that he had experienced the casting couch “first hand”. He is one of the few men in Bollywood to voice concerns over abuse and harassment.

Farhan Aktar, an actor, director and singer, is another male celebrity who has spoken out. He founded MARD, the Men Against Rape and Discrimination campaign, which raises awareness around sexual violence across the country, working in small villages and remote areas too.

But many of the women the BBC has spoken to believe change won’t come until there are safe ways for them to report abuse and until more leading figures in the industry accept that there is a problem.

Until that time comes, sexual harassment and abuse will remain the one story few in Bollywood want to tell.

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