Several actresses have offered their support two days after the flurry of allegations made by Dutta against actor Nana Patekar and three others.
Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, Swara Bhasker rally behind Tanushree Dutta as charges intensify
Mumbai - 28 Sep 2018 11:38 IST
Updated : 13:13 IST
A day after Nana Patekar dismissed the allegations of sexual harassment levelled by actress Tanushree Dutta against him, several members of the film industry stepped out to support Dutta's efforts to speak out. Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra, Swara Bhasker and Richa Chadha were among the key names that took to Twitter to offer their support to the actress' cause.
Tweeting early in the morning, Chopra suggested that the world needed to 'believe in survivors', implying the questioning of Dutta's timing as irrelevant. Chopra remains the rare A-list actress to have stepped out openly in support of Dutta's claims so far.
The actress had retweeted Akhtar's own tweet in which he tagged journalist Janice Sequeira, who had provided a first hand account as a reporter on the sets of the film where the incident with Dutta took place. "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," wrote Akhtar.
Akhtar is also the founder of MARD, an NGO that works towards gender equality.
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. https://t.co/Ola3MNdmtS— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) September 27, 2018
Dutta had also levelled charges against director Rakesh Sarang, producer Sami Siddiqui, and choreographer Ganesh Acharya of abetting the harassment on the set. Acharya, too, has dismissed the charges against himself and Patekar.
Richa Chadha also spoke up in support of Dutta, praising her courage to 'not back down'. The actress has been one of the outspoken critics of gender inequality in the industry.
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.— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) September 27, 2018
Swara Bhasker, another outspoken voice for female liberation in the industry, tagged #IBelieveYouTanushreeDutta as an expression of her sentiments. The actress also attached a thread by a female assistant director on the set of the film, Horn 'Ok' Pleassss (2009) to bring the picture of the harassment to the fore.
While Dutta had also pointed out that when she had spoken up in 2008, very few people in the industry had stepped out in her support. The actress had called the recent rise of #MeToo movement in the Hindi film industry a 'hypocrisy'.
Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan's decision to sidestep a question about the issue is a proof of the hesitancy that Dutta complained of. However, there are a few encouraging signs.
In another development, Dutta accused director Vivek Agnihotri of being disrespectful to her on the sets of Chocolate: Deep Dark Secrets (2005). In a quote to DNA, a daily, Dutta said, "This guy [Vivek Agnihotri] wanted me to give cues to an actor [Irrfan Khan]. It was an actor's close-up. It was not even my shot. I was not even going to be in the shot. It was the actor's close-up and he had to just look at something and give expressions. This director, he told me jao jaake kapde utaar ke naacho, usko cues do [go take off your clothes and dance, give him the cues]."
However, this was not accepted by Khan and Suniel Shetty who later pulled up Agnihotri for making such a statement, Dutta added.
As the issue has picked up pace, several artistes have stepped forward in support. Twinkle Khanna also tweeted out a statement in support of the actress. She wrote, "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!"
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! https://t.co/f8Nj9YWRvE— Twinkle Khanna (@mrsfunnybones) September 28, 2018
However, none of the major stars of the industry have stepped out in support. Whether that changes remains to be seen.