Tanushree Dutta accuses Nana Patekar of harassment: Eyewitness account emerges online, Ganesh Acharya dismisses claims
After Tanushree Dutta alleged that she was sexually harassed by Nana Patekar on a film set years ago, choreographer of the film Ganesh Acharya has dismissed her claims while a journalist backed the actress’ account and wrote on Twitter that she was on the sets when the incident happened.Updated: Sep 26, 2018 20:12 IST
Actor Tanushree Dutta recently spoke up about being sexually harassed on the sets of her 2008 movie, Horn OK Please. On Monday, she named actor Nana Patekar as the alleged harasser. While she had made the same claims right after the incident, her words went unheard. However, she has found a new, stronger voice in the wake of the #MeToo and Times Up movement.
In an interview published on News 18 website on Tuesday, Tanushree revisited the incident and said she was one of the first people in Bollywood to speak up on the issue. Now, journalist Janice Sequeira has also chimed in with her claims and said that she was at the film’s sets when the entire episode unfolded 10 years ago.
In a series of tweets, Janice went through the details of the day. “Some incidents that take place even a decade ago remain fresh in your memory. What happened with #TanushreeDutta on the sets of “Horn Ok Please” is one such incident - I was there,” she wrote in her opening tweet. Janice wrote that she was on the sets to cover the behind-the-scenes aspect of the song. When she arrived on sets, she was told the shooting has been stalled because of Tanushree.
“I could see Tanushree on set, visibly upset about something. #NanaPatekar, choreographer Ganesh Acharya and a man (who I later found was the producer) were having a conversation, while 50-odd dancers sat waiting. The official version was that the “heroine was not cooperating”. A while later, shooting resumed. Tanushree resumed work, and a couple shots later, #NanaPatekar joined her. Not long after that, Tanushree walked off set. Shooting halted again. She locked herself in her vanity van, refusing to come out. Out of nowhere, goons turned up and began banging against the vanity van door. I was told the producers had called them to set. Cops arrived. Amidst this chaos, I got hold of #NanaPatekar. All he said was, “Meri beti jaisi hai” (she is like my daughter), which didn’t really make any sense at that point.
“Eventually, Tanushree’s parents arrived to pick her up. Her car was attacked, the windshield broken. I tried to get in touch with Tanushree to get her version of events. Around midnight, she asked me to come to her place. In tears, she narrated what really happened,” she wrote. Tanushree told Janice that choreographer Ganesh Acharya made her practise her dance steps for three days only to change it all on the day of the shoot so Nana could be a part of the sequence. “Later, she said, a lewd dance step was introduced on the insistence of #NanaPatekar, so he could touch her inappropriately. That’s where alarm bells rang, and Tanushree decided to walk off set. What she didn’t expect was the aggression shown by the producers after,” she wrote in her tweets. HT cannot verify her claims independently.
Ganesh Acharya has denied Tanushree’s claims in an interview to News 18, “He’s a very sweet person, he can never do that. He is very helpful and he has actually helped a lot of artistes in the industry, he can never do anything like that.” He also added that he doesn’t remember what happened that day as the incident is from 10 years ago. “When I was called for rehearsal I was told that Nana ji was also there in the song. I don’t have the agreement with me because that time we used to do it verbally. But that particular song didn’t involve any kind of indecent step in the first place. It was pure dancing. That’s all,” he said.
Nana Patekar did not respond to Hindustan Times’ requests for a comment.
In her interview to News 18, Tanushree said that we can’t expect change until what happened to her in 2008 is acknowledged. In an interview to Zoom, Tanushree said, “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.”
“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 had said.
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