Tanushree Dutta’s sexual harassment allegations: Who said what in Bollywood
Tanushree Dutta, former Miss India and Bollywood actor, went missing from the industry almost a decade back. While many wondered why the Aashiq Banaya Apne actor quit industry, Tanushree has now answered all questions, claiming that she decided to leave films after she was harassed on the sets of her film, Horn OK Pleassss. The actor said she had detailed her ordeal in 2008 as well but there was no outcome. She also named Nana Patekar as her abuser, alleging that he had demanded that she shoot an intimate dance step with her.
She also alleged that during the making of 2005 film Chocolate, the film’s director Vivek Agnihotri had asked her to remove her clothes and dance in front of Irrfan Khan in order to give him cues for a scene. However, cast members Irrfan and Suniel Shetty had come out in support of her during that time. Ever since Tanushree’s allegations, here’s what the biggest and important names in Bollywood have said about the issue.
1. Janice Sequeira, a journalist, was among the first ones to add weight to Tanushree’s claims by tweeting her eyewitness account. She had tweeted, “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. #NanaPatekar.” Shyni Shetty, an assistant director on the film, also corroborated Tanushree’s account. “Everything in this thread happened exactly the way it’s written. It was my first film as an AD. I was proud of what you did then, @TanushreeDutta and I’m proud of you today,” she wrote.
2. Tanushree claimed that choreographer Ganesh Acharya and director Rakesh Sarang were complicit in her harassment but both have dismissed her claims. Ganesh has said that no intimate dance steps were added and neither was the actor harassed in any way. “I can confirm that nothing this sort of happened. It’s a wrong statement that Nana ji called members of some political party on set. It never happened,” he told India Today.
3. When actor Amitabh Bachchan was asked to react on the issue during the launch of the Thugs of Hindostan trailer, the senior actor said he was neither Nana nor Tanushree and cannot comment on the issue. However, Tanushree has expressed her deep disappointment at the superstar’s reaction. She told Hindustan Times, “I’m hurt, as these are people who do movies on social causes. But when it comes to standing up and doing something about what is happening in front of you, there are these evasive statements that don’t make sense.”
5. Amid all the hullaballoo, director Farah Khan shared a picture from the sets of her upcoming film Housefull 4, also starring Nana Patekar. Twitter called out Farah. Meanwhile, author Twinkle Khanna supported Tanushree with her tweet, “Please read this thread before judging or shaming #TanushreeDutta 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!”
6. Actor Farhan Akhtar was among the first few Bollywood celebs to tweet his support for Tanushree. “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,” he wrote on Twitter.
7. Actor Priyanka Chopra also wrote in response to Farhan Akhtar’s statement, “Agreed..the world needs to #BelieveSurviviors”. However, this also did not go down well with Tanushree who hit back with her response on Zoom, “It’s amazing. She (Priyanka) has finally decided to join the bandwagon. It’s probably a smart thing to do at this point of time. But I just want people to know that I am not going to be reduced to a survivor. I have a name, I have a story and I have this truth that I am trying to get out because it’s not for me but for people who will come forward in the generations to come.”
8. Recently at an event, when actor Salman Khan was asked about what he had to say about the whole episode, he clearly evaded the question with the reply, “I am not aware of this. Let me know and understand what is happening.”
9. Actor Sonam Kapoor, known for being vocal in her views, supported Tanushree, “I believe #TanushreeDatta and @janiceseq85 recollection of the account. Janice is my friend, and she is anything but an exaggerator or a liar. And it’s upto us to stand together.” She added, “Many of my co-workers,female and male have been harassed and bullied, but it’s their story to tell. If we don’t encourage their voices and instead vilify and question them, how will victims ever become survivors? Let them speak up! Stand up with them!”
10. Namastey England actor Parineeti Chopra took to Twitter to share her support for Tanushree. She tweeted, “I agree too. Survivors are survivors because they have dealt with something horrible and come out on the other side. So believe them, respect them. @janiceseq85 #TanushreeDutta.”
11. Actors Richa Chadha and Swara Bhasker also tweeted their support for the actor. “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,” Richa wrote. Swara wrote simply, “#IBelieveYouTanushreeDutta.”
12. Director Anurag Kashyap also wrote in Tanushree’s support, “If my previous tweet sounds vague let me clarify it. This should stop the questioning of intention of Tanushree Datta because there is a witness account of what happened and @janiceseq85 is as credible as the come.”
13. In an interview to Pinkvilla, actor Kangana Ranaut said: “I am not here to pass judgement. That’s neither my place nor my intention. I appreciate her courage to speak about alleged harassment that has been caused to her. It’s her and the accused’s fundamental right to speak about their experience of the same situation. Such dialogue is very healthy and it will bring about a lot of awareness.”
14. Actor Varun Dhawan also applauded her courage. “I have been busy with ‘Sui Dhaaga’, so I haven’t really heard the whole story, but I think what’s most important at a work place is respect -- whether for a woman, man or a child. We want to make our industry a safe place and everyone deserves equal respect. Also if someone is openly talking about the issue, we should hear them out. It takes great courage to talk about it and I applaud that courage.”
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