Several prominent Bollywood personalities have spoken in favour of actress Tanushree Dutta regarding her alleged harassment by Nana Patekar on the sets of the 2009 film Horn ‘Ok’ Pleassss. Priyanka Chopra, Parineeti Chopra, Alankrita Shrivastava and Swara Bhasker are among those who have expressed their belief in Dutta’s version of the events.
In an interview with Zoom TV on Tuesday, Dutta alleged that Patekar had asked to be included as part of an “intimate step” in what was supposed to be her solo dance number. She said that no action was taken against Patekar despite complaints about his misbehaviour to producer Sami Siddiqui and director Rakesh Sarang.
Dutta also claimed that Patekar called people working for the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, who intimidated her and damaged her car. She first had made the allegations in 2008, but had largely been met with silence from the film industry at the time.
Dutta told DNA on Thursday that a director had asked her to take off her clothes and dance to give co-star Irrfan his cues. She did not name the perpetrator, but said that the incident occurred on the sets of Chocolate (2005), which was directed by Vivek Agnihotri.
Journalist Janice Sequeria said on Twitter that she had been on the sets of Horn ‘Ok’ Pleassss when the incident is said to have occurred. Seqeuira added that Dutta had spoken about the events to her later that evening, and that her account on Tuesday was consistent with what she said 10 years ago.
Several other film celebrities have praised Dutta’s decision to speak about the incident, stressing on the importance of listening to those who speak about abuse and harassment.
Their reaction is in stark contrast to Amitabh Bachchan, who shrugged off a question that was posed to him during the trailer launch of Thugs of Hindostan by saying that he could not react since he was neither Patekar nor Dutta.
Meanwhile, Patekar’s lawyer, Rajendra Shikodkar, has dismissed the allegation. “We are in process of sending legal notice to Tanushree Dutta as she has made false allegations and has spoken untruth,” he said in a statement to IANS on Friday. “We will send the notice later today which will be basically a notice seeking apology for her statements.”
According to a report in DNA, Siddiqui has filed a complaint against Tanushree with the Association of Motion Picture and TV Programme Producers for causing him financial loss and tarnishing the goodwill of his production firm Sunshine Pictures Pvt Ltd. The report adds that MNS has written letters to different associations of producers, asking them to “blacklist” Tanushree for accusing Patekar. The political party has also threatened to agitate against Dutta if she does not give an unconditional apology to the actor, whom it describes as the “pride of Maharashtra”.