Actor Tanushree Dutta, who filed a police complaint against actor Nana Patekar for allegedly harassing her on the sets of a film in 2008, has urged women to speak out. “Women will face backlash for speaking out, will face threats and legal notices. That is one of the tactics used to stop them from speaking out,” she said at an event titled ‘We The Women’ in the city on Sunday.
Recounting the harassment she faced on the sets of Horn Ok Pleassss , Ms. Dutta said she has been slapped with legal notices from both actor Nana Patekar and film director Vivek Agnihotri, whom she has accused of harassment. The incidents left her traumatised as she lost the confidence to walk into a film set. “I was constantly looking over my shoulder and could only remember the toxic atmosphere. I walked away from the industry and it took me 10 years to heal,” she said.
She added: “I have been called names... people have said I am doing this for publicity. I had complained soon after the incident. Also, if I wanted publicity, I would have gone ahead with the song and later performed it for stage shows. But I chose to walk away.”
She was in conversation with journalist Barkha Dutt and journalist Sandhya Menon, one of the women behind the #MeToo movement in Indian media.
Ms. Menon said she was shocked to see the number of Indian women in media who have now spoken out against sexual harassment. “I had blogged about my experiences. The turning point for me was what Ms. Dutta did, and I decided to tweet,” she said. She, too, urged women, especially younger women, to speak up. “You... will be amazed at the kind of support that comes your way,” she said.
Earlier in the day, ‘We The Women’ brought together a diverse group of men and women who spoke on a range of topics, including women’s fight against religious orthodoxy, the battle by Bohri women to end female genital mutilation, the challenges and struggles of transwomen, life after the end of Section 377. The event saw the participation of actors Sonam K. Ahuja, Taapsee Pannu and Vicky Kaushal, and cricketer Mithali Raj, among others.