A wise old wizard and headmaster of a school of magic once said “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” In light of actress Tanushree Dutta’s harassment allegations against Nana Patekar and his vehement denial of them, the Bollywood fraternity stands on the brink of a tough choice.
On paper, both these people are their peers. But in reality, it is about supporting the truth over supporting the truth that’s more convenient for them. While one of them continues to be a part of the industry, the other’s career has already been considered finished for a while now.
Ethically, this shouldn’t even be a question. However, the time isn’t up yet in Bollywood. Still, several celebrities from the film industry, journalists, TV actors, and stand up comedians have spoken out in support of Tanushree Dutta.
The support gained momentum after journalist and host of Social Media Star Janice Sequeira penned a thread about being present on set when the incident occured.
— Janice Sequeira (@janiceseq85) September 26, 2018
While a majority of Bollywood has chosen to remain silent on this, some of them have stood up in solidarity with the actress.
When the likes of Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra, and Richa Chadda lend their voice to these issues, the right noise is made.
A real MARD speaking up.
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
Farhan’s support has been applauded by many on social media.
Need. To. Believe.
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) September 28, 2018
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
Investigations will happen. But first, listen.
If a women speaks out about abuse, you listen. Even if it's on her deathbed 50 years after the incident,you listen. If you ask why she didn't speak earlier or you rush to dismiss her, the problem is with you. There will be investigation; but first, listen. Period. #TanushreeDutta
— Siddharth (@Actor_Siddharth) September 28, 2018
Sonam Kapoor vouched for Janice Sequeira’s credibility and asked people to stand together in support of 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. https://t.co/sF3mS5o1P8
— Sonam K Ahuja (@sonamakapoor) September 28, 2018
Must read this thread. https://t.co/Q4OdfwXzqD
— Masaba Mantena (@MasabaG) September 28, 2018
Takes a special courage to be Tanushree Dutta, says Richa Chadha.
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 on why Bollywood’s #MeToo movement will be a long time coming.
— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) September 26, 2018
— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) September 27, 2018
— Mallika Dua (@MallikaDua) September 27, 2018
More power to Tanushree!
Of course alot of Bollywood stars and producers won't say anything – they are afraid and some of them should be. Be afraid, be very afraid – It begun.
More power to women like #TanushreeDutta – for fighting the good fight for us. #NanaPatekar #Metoo
— Kaneez Surka (@kaneezsurka) September 27, 2018
— radhika vaz (@radvaz) September 27, 2018
Actor Ashwin Mushran just destroyed one of the biggest fallacious arguments against Tanushree Dutta.
"But why did she wait for so long to say something?"
You guys have no idea how power works and a fear of losing a job that you need to pay all your bills… Do you?
Or don't you?
— Ashwin Mushran (@ashwinmushran) September 27, 2018
— Shruti Seth (@SethShruti) September 26, 2018
Cant make the world safer for our sisters & daughters if we refuse to trust women. Nobody wants to believe despicable truths abt friends & colleagues but when it’s clear that wrong has been done, our silence makes us complicit. We’re just convincing women that nothing will change
— Rajeev Masand (@RajeevMasand) September 28, 2018
Writer Apurva Asrani called out his industry peers on remaning mum over the issue.
He even alluded to Kevin Spacey’s downfall with his ‘House of Cards’ jibe.
Sad. My people don’t think twice about raising their voice for the West’s #MeToo movement, but sit silent—promoting each other’s films, whilst #TanushreeDutta fights a lone battle against #NanaPatekar. Too many skeletons in too many closets. A #HouseOfCards waiting to collapse… https://t.co/SXg26IZg4A
— Apurva Asrani (@Apurvasrani) September 26, 2018
Faye DSouza joined in the disappointment over the film fraternity being unwilling to talk about such a relevant issue.
Really disappointed that no one , NO ONE, from the film industry is willing to talk about sexual harassment and the accusation made by #TanushreeDutta
— Faye DSouza (@fayedsouza) September 27, 2018
— Shehla Rashid (@Shehla_Rashid) September 27, 2018
Director Hansal Mehta is asking the right question, and his cynicism over how this case too shall end might actually not be too far off. Unless of course, the right people speak up.
Will this also die a natural death with no formal complaint, no proper investigation and no punitive action against the predator if he is found guilty? Honestly, I am cynical about the outcome. These offenders go scot free because our outrage is short-lived. #TanushreeDutta https://t.co/iHTBa0VQY9
— Hansal Mehta (@mehtahansal) September 28, 2018
India in general does not have a conducive work environment. Mental harassment, abuse and predatorial behaviour by people in positions of power are prevalent and considered perks of being in power. Years of oppression and colonial rule have permanently altered our DNA.
— Hansal Mehta (@mehtahansal) September 28, 2018
What’s more, another on-set witness has come forth and corroborated Tanushree’s account of what happened that day.
— Shyni Shetty (@SceneSorted) September 27, 2018
Many other Bollywood bigwigs like Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan have chosen to dodge comments on Tanushree’s case. And this has miffed their fans hugely.
Though a few people feel Aamir, even though he dodged a direct comment, had something substantial to say on the issue, compared to Bachchan senior.
— RJ ALOK (@OYERJALOK) September 27, 2018
However, in another revelation, Tanushree has claimed that when Vivek Agnihotri spoke to her indecently during the shoot of Chocolate, Suniel Shetty and Irrfan Khan came to her defence.
Here’s hoping Bollywood wakes up or it won’t be possible to say Time’s Up to this practice of sexual harassment in the industry.