Bollywood stars Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra, Twinkle Khanna, Swara Bhasker and Richa Chadha have come out in support of actor Tanushree Dutta’s allegations that Nana Patekar harassed her on the sets of a film in 2008.
In a recent TV interview, Dutta said Patekar misbehaved with her on the sets of Horn Ok Pleasss 10 years ago.
The actor, a former Miss India-Universe who is now based in the US, also alleged that Patekar had the tacit support of the film’s makers.
In a lengthy Twitter post, journalist Janice Sequeira narrated her account of the incident, provoking many from the Hindi film industry to react to Tanushree’s allegations.
“This thread is very telling. @janiceseq85 was there at the time of the incident being debated today,” Farhan wrote late Thursday along side Sequeira’s account of the incident.
“Even when #TanushreeDutta had career concerns to keep quiet 10 years ago she did not and her story hasn’t changed now. Her courage should be admired, not her intention questioned,” he added.
“Agreed... The world needs to #BelieveSurviviors,” Priyanka commented on Farhan’s post Friday.
Richa praised Dutta for being courageous enough to open up about the harassment she faced during her time in the films.
“It hurts to be #TanushreeDutta. 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” she wrote.
Twinkle said a healthy working environment is a fundamental right. “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,” she wrote re-tweeting the same post shared by Farhan.
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta said he was proud of Tanushree but was “cynical” about the results.
“Will this also die a natural death with no formal complaint, no proper investigation and no punitive action against the predator if he is found guilty? Honestly, I am cynical about the outcome. These offenders go scot free because our outrage is short-lived. #TanushreeDutta
“We must stop asking ‘what did you about it then’ and start asking ‘what can we do about it now’ It’s now or never,” he wrote.
Sharing a video interview of Tanushree, Swara said “#IBelieveYouTanushreeDutta”
Writer Apurva Asrani said he was sad that not many people from the industry have come out in support of the actor.
“Sad. My people don’t think twice about raising their voice for the West’s #MeToo movement, but sit silent-promoting each other’s films, whilst #TanushreeDutta fights a lone battle against #NanaPatekar. Too many skeletons in too many closets. A #HouseOfCards waiting to collapse...” he tweeted.
Actor-anchor Shruti Seth wrote, “Hope this is the beginning of the end of sexual harassment in Bollywood. I hope more women find courage to call out their perpetrators. Bravo #TanushreeDutta”
Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan evade answer
Stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan, however, evaded a direct answer when asked about Tanushree’s claim.
“My name is not Tanushree and my name is not Nana Patekar,” Bachchan said when asked to react to Dutta’s recent TV interview.
Aamir said it would be unfair on his part to comment on the controversy without knowing the “veracity” or the “details” of the matter.
“I don’t think I can comment on it... But whenever something like this does happens it is really a sad thing. Now whether such thing has happened it is for people to investigate it,” he said.
Salman dodged the question saying he was not aware about the incident.
“I am not aware of this dear let me know, let me understand what is happening. We will see. What is going on as I am not aware of what you are talking,” he said.
Patekar, who had denied the claims at a press conference when Dutta raised the issue in 2008, remains unreachable despite several attempts to contact him for his version of what had happened.