The Bollywood film industry literally played a silent role when the #MeToo movement was going on against Hollywood`s influential media mogul Harvey Weinstein. #MeToo spread virally in October last year as a hashtag used on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. But recently, #MeToo surge demented Bollywood film industry when the former Miss India Tanushree Dutta has accused the veteran Indian actor Nana Patekar of sexually assaulting her.
Ms. Dutta, the 2004 Femina Miss India winner raised grave accusations against influential actor Nana Patekar. Some days ago in an interview, Tanushree claimed that she was sexually harassed by Nana Patekar while filming movie `Horn Ok Please` in 2008. Director Rakesh Sarang, producer Sami Siddiqui and choreographer Ganesh Acharya were the witnesses of that incident. Besides, Tanushree also accused director Vivek Agnihotri for his objectionable behavior towards her.
When asked why she comes up with this complaint after so many years Tanushree said that although she sought justice in 2008, could not lodge a complaint under the threat of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. She claims that Nana Patekar is a supporter of that party.
In the meantime, the controversial interview of Tanushree Dutta has already been discussed and criticized in the Bollywood industry. In Bollywood often actresses have to be victims of such unwanted events and it is basically an open secret. But few people are directly complaining about this issue. So, someone dares to open his/ her mouth about these incidents, especially against a popular actor will definitely trigger controversy.
Among the actresses acting as a lead lady or lead heroine, Tanushree was the first who came forward in front of the media about her sexual harassment story. Had it been thought earlier, the newcomers and the extras in the industry were only subjected to such harassment. But the thought has changed now. It is believed that Tanushree is not first, many more actresses like her have been victims of this kind of harassment in Bollywood for ages.
Influential Bollywood personalities like Asha Bhosle, Kajol, Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra, Parineeti Chopra, Twinkle Khanna, Sonam Kapoor, Richa Chadda, Swara Bhaskar and Raveena Tandon have already been standing by Tanushree`s side. Varun Dhawan praised Tanushree`s courage at an event in Mumbai. The assistant director of that movie (Horn Ok Please) Shyni Shetty, confirmed the authenticity of Tanushree`s claim. Apart from this, Salman Khan, Amir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan have also been questioned in different press conferences on this issue.
But Tanushree thinks that this movement will not be successful in India. Although she has been supported by a part of Bollywood, still she has to go through many embarrassing situations. Tanushree received the legal notice from Nana Patekar and Vivek Agnihotri on Thursday. She even alleged that the activists of a political party have already started threatening her.
Meanwhile, There were no comments from Nana Patekar on this issue as he was busy shooting for his upcoming movie. But he talked with the media at the Mumbai airport yesterday (Saturday). The 67-year-old actor, however, denied the allegation against him.
It is now a matter of watching that how a movement like #MeToo gets justice in a film industry where the influential actors/actresses are considered too powerful.