[dropcap]A[/dropcap]ctress Tanushree Dutta opened up about a 10-year-old controversy, and alleged that she was harassed by an actor on the sets of 2009 film Horn ‘Ok’ Pleassss. For the first time, she named veteran actor Nana Patekar in an interview with Zoom TV. Tanushree said that even though the industry insiders allegedly knew about Nana Patekar’s indecent behaviour with women, no one spoke about it.
“Everyone knows about Nana Patekar that he has always been disrespectful towards women. People in the industry know about his background… that he has beaten actresses, he has molested them, his behaviour with women has always been crude but no publication has printed anything about it,” she told Zoom TV.
On Tuesday, the Aashiq Banaya Aapne actress told News18 that #MeToo movement won’t reach India until everyone acknowledges what happened with her a decade ago. She added that though people spoke about the controversy, nobody took action.
“The entire industry saw what happened but there was not one word of condemnation from anybody. Every single person in this country remembers my incident and this was something on national TV for three days but even today there’s a stoic silence on that. So, my question is, ‘Who is going to believe these hypocrites?’ These are the people who stand up and raise their voice against women empowerment,” she said talking about why #MeToo won’t reach India.
Taking Akshay Kumar and Rajinikanth’s names, Tanushree said that there’s no hope for a better work environment if A-listers do not boycott actors like Nana Patekar. She said: “Akshay Kumar has made few films with Nana Patekar in last eight years and Rajinikanth also recently worked with him (in Kaala)… If such big stars will keep working with these culprits then there’s no hope for any movement to happen.”
Naming men who complied with Nana
She revealed names of several people, “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.”
She also said that when she raised concerns on the set, no one paid heed. Even though people gossiped about it, no one spoke out, she alleged. “Everyone has gossiped about this but they’ve never spoken. People with this kind of character speak like this against the kind of character that I have because they say she does glamourous roles so must be glamorous and all. Behind the back, they are so dirty. When you are in the industry you hear so many stories about these actors. But these things never take surface because they are PR packaged very well. They will give some money to some poor farmers. How much they do and how much they don’t know, no one knows. But all this is just for show,” she added.
Tanushree Dutta was reportedly signed for a special song sequence in Horn ‘Ok’ Pleassss, which she eventually dropped, citing Nana Patekar’s misbehavior as reason.
On her experience of vandalism
Tanushree also spoke of an incident when her car was vandalised, as people were shaming her for speaking out in 2008. “Post the incident on the sets of Horn ‘OK’ Pleassss, Nana Patekar called up this political party who has a reputation of vandalism and causing damages on the sets. And the producers called up the media to gain publicity from the whole situation. On one side we had the media and on the other side we had the political party workers. They vandalised my car completely. So, I got off my vanity van and headed towards our vehicle. They had my car vandalised, which is also first degree assault by a mob,” said Tanushree in the interview.
“And when this incident was happening, someone went and told the producers that people are vandalising my car. Instead of stopping them or helping us, the producers had the guards shut the gate so we wouldn’t be able to leave the premises. The gate was opened only when the police intervened. If the police had come even 5 minutes late, I shudder to think what could’ve happened to me or my parents who were accompanying me in the car,” she added.
“This is the culture of our country. The people who should be ashamed are not ashamed of their actions. Instead, people tried to thwart my freedom of speech when I spoke up against him,” she asked.
Tanushree Dutta debuted in 2005 film Aashiq Banaya Aapne. She starred in films like Dhol, Good Boy, Bad Boy and Apartment – her last onscreen appearance.
Talking about her non-appearance from films she told News18, “I got some 30-40 film offers after the controversy, but I was suffering from such major fear that I would not even want to go on a film set. Because when you go through such experience you think everybody is like that. You refuse to believe that I have worked with good people also.”
Nana dismissed Tanushree’s claims
Nana Patekar had dismissed Tanushree’s claims back in 2008 after the incident. “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.
On casting couch
Speaking of casting couch, she revealed a conversation where a casting director chose lead actresses based on those who would provide sexual favours. The words were, “Deti hai kya.” She further said about the director saying “Aagar deti nahi hai to isko milegi nahi.”
She said, “This is the attitude in Bollywood and all the film industries that are working in the country is because deti nahi ho toh film nahi milegi.”
“This is like a brothel runnind over here,” said the actress of Bollywood.