While most of Bollywood’s big names have stayed silent on the issues of harassment and abuse, actress Tanushree Dutta is one of the few who speaks against powerful men in the industry, such as Nana Patekar. While she gets the support from general public, Bollywood, except a few, remains mum on the issue.
Every year, thousands of young men and women head to India’s film capital city Mumbai, in search of fulfilling their Bollywood dreams. But for many, the experience turns into a nightmare when in disguise of a job or as a rite of passage, they are sexually harassed by Bollywood producers, directors or actors.
It is not any different for Hollywood. Under the #MeToo campaign, many made huge revelations about Hollywood. Countless celebrities opened up about their experiences of sexual harassment and assaults by some of the biggest producers and honchos in the industry, toppling many from their proverbial thrones in Hollywood.
Even though Bollywood earlier distanced itself from joining the debate,Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta has now come out in the open about her experience. In a recent interview, the actress raised her voice against sexual harassment in the industry, which she faced ten years ago on the sets of the film ‘Horn OK Pleasss’. She accused actor Nana Patekar and director Vivek Agnihotri for their smutty behaviour towards her during a shoot and in front of actors Irrfan Khan and Suniel Shetty.
While general public show support and praise her courage, Bollywood personalities (except a few, like actors Farhan Akhtar and Richa Chadha), choose to stay silent. One of the biggest Bollywood superstars, Amitabh Bachchan, who has been very outspoken about problems in the industry and otherwise, also ducked away from making any comment on the issue, and said that since he is neither Nana Patekar nor Tanushree Dutta, he won’t comment on the subject.
It hurts to be #TanushreeDutta rn. 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.
— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) September 27, 2018
Earlier, a few actors including Swara Bhaskar, Radhika Apte and Richa Chadha spoke openly about sexual harassment in the industry, but without naming the perpetrators. Allegations against powerful men came out not only in Hollywood and Bollywood but in Pakistan as well when Meesha Shafi alleged Ali Zafar of sexual harassment.
In 2005, a sting operation caught Bollywood actor Shakti Kapoor being involved in a case of casting couch. For the uninitiated, casting couch refers to awarding roles to the actors in a film in return of receiving sexual favours. This brazen act is said to have been present in the industry for long but never really gets talked about in open.
Ranveer Singh, one of Bollywood’s biggest actors, said in a 2015 interview that he had experienced casting couch first hand. He is one of the few men in Bollywood to voice concerns over abuse and harassment that has been taking place in the industry.
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. https://t.co/Ola3MNdmtS
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) September 27, 2018
Farhan Akhtar is also the founder of ‘MARD’- the Men Against Rape and Discrimination campaign, which raises awareness around sexual violence across the country.