Actor Nana Patekar has sent a legal notice to actress Tanushree Dutta for accusing him of sexually harassing her, his lawyer Rajendra Shirodkar told reporters on Monday. Patekar has purportedly asked Dutta to apologise for making false claims, FirstPost reported.
On September 25, Dutta alleged that the senior actor had intimidated and harassed her on the sets of the film Horn ‘Ok’ Pleassss, which was released in 2009. Dutta was signed for a song but was later replaced by Rakhi Sawant. Dutta first made the allegations in 2008. Patekar had denied the allegations at the time too.
Shirodkar said Nana Patekar would address a press conference soon. “I cannot say much now,” he added. “I have absolutely no idea why she [Tanushree Dutta] is talking about it now, but maybe she has some reasons to do it. Nana will come to Mumbai today or tomorrow.”
In an interview to Zoom TV on September 25, Dutta alleged that Patekar used to trouble her on the set and had asked the film’s director to include him in an “intimate step” in what was supposed to be Dutta’s solo dance performance. She said despite her complaints to producer Sami Siddiqui and director Rakesh Sarang no action was taken. Dutta also claimed that Patekar had called people working for the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, who intimidated her and damaged her car.
According to a report in The Times of India, Dutta filed a complaint in 2008 with the Cine and Television Artistes Association, demanding compensation for damage to property and her reputation.
“Tanushree is my daughter’s age and I have no clues about what made her say such things about me,” Patekar had then said at a press conference. “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.”
In the Zoom TV interview, Dutta alleged that Patekar has always been “disrespectful towards women”. “People in the industry know that he [Patekar] has beaten actresses, he has molested them,” she said. “His behaviour with women has always been crude but no publication has printed anything about it.”
Dutta claimed popular actors such as Akshay Kumar and Rajinikanth have worked with Patekar despite knowing about his alleged mistreatment of actresses.
On September 27, Dutta said a director had asked her to take off her clothes and dance to give co-star Irrfan Khan his cues. Dutta made the allegations in an interview to DNA. She did not name the director but said the incident occurred on the sets of Chocolate (2005), which was directed by Vivek Agnihotri.
Dutta won the Femina Miss India Universe title in 2004 and made her Hindi film debut with Aditya Datt’s Aashiq Banaya Aapne (2005). Her film credits include Dhol (2007), Good Boy, Bad Boy (2007) and Saas Bahu aur Sensex (2008). Dutta was last seen in Jag Mundhra’s film Apartment (2010).
Reactions to the claims
The allegations have largely met with silence from the film industry but on September 27 and 28, Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra, Swara Bhasker, Sonam K Ahuja, Twinkle Khanna and others tweeted in Dutta’s support. Some of the tweets came in response to a Twitter thread by journalist Janice Sequeria, who said she had been on the set of Horn Okay Please and had noticed a fracas. She said Dutta had talked to her about the incident in detail on the day it occurred and her account was consistent with what she had said 10 years ago.