India's #MeToo moment

Nana Patekar responds to charges with legal notice

Actor Nana Patekar. File  

As actor Tanushree Dutta — who has made allegations of sexual harassment against veteran actor Nana Patekar — began to find support from within the film industry, his lawyer Rajendra Shirodkar sent her a legal notice.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Shirodkar said, “We have sent a legal notice to Ms. Dutta today in the evening denying all allegations made by her and seeking a written apology. If she does not respond to the same, we shall take further action which can either be filing for criminal defamation or a suit for damages.”

The actor has claimed that she was sexually harassed by Mr. Patekar on a film set in 2008 — with choreographer Ganesh Acharya, producer Sami Siddiqui and director Rakesh Sarang being complicit. She also said that members of Raj Thackeray’s political outfit Maharashtra Navnirman Sena encircled and damaged her car when she attempted to leave the set with her parents.

Ms. Dutta is said to have filed a complaint with the Cine and Television Artistes’ Association (CINTAA) shortly after the incident. A statement from Ms. Dutta to The Hindu said, “A man who is claiming to be Nana Patekar’s advocate is calling up people close to Tanushree and media houses alike threatening to drag Tanushree to court for speaking up. Even after 10 years Nana Patekar is still harassing Tanushree Dutta with legal threats and intimidation tactics while the whole world is watching.”

Standing in solidarity

Former broadcast journalist Janice Sequeira has corroborated Ms. Dutta’s account. Ms. Sequeira tweeted what she had witnessed while covering a behind-the-scenes account of a song shoot on the day.

Shyni Shetty, then an assistant director, also wrote a personal account of what transpired on the day, partly confirming both Ms. Dutta’s and Ms. Sequeira’s accounts.

Farhan Akhtar tweeted, “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.”

Retweeting Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra tweeted, “Agreed..the world needs to #BelieveSurvivors”

Twinkle Khanna tweeted, “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!”

Siddharth Suryanaryan wrote on Twitter, “Reporting abuse is traumatic. To be analysed in public for it is torture. To have some bastard suggest the woman is doing it for attention is inhuman. You always give the victim benefit of the doubt. Enough with shaming! Innocent men will overcome any accusation!”

Apurva Asrani tweeted, “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…”

Richa Chadha said, “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.” Raveena Tandon tweeted, “When our industry fails to stand for and protect its own. They get their chance and lose it. Makes our films on women empowerment hollow. The deafening silence on #TanushreeDutta case is sickening.”

Parineeti Chopra tweeted, “Survivors... have dealt with something horrible and come out on the other side. So believe them, respect them.”

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 3:35:09 PM |

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