After Bollywood actor Tanushree Dutta alleged that Nana Patekar had sexually harassed her and set goons on her and her family in 2008, Nana has responded, denying he committed the alleged acts.
In a phone conversation with Aruneel Sadadekar of Mirror Now, Nana Patekar, when asked about Tanushree’s allegations against him, said, “What can I do about it? You tell me.”
When probed further, he went on to laugh, and say, “What does she mean by sexual harassment? There were 50-100 people on set with me [at that time]…”
Nana Patekar also said that he would see what he could do about it legally. “I’ll see, it’s a waste talking,” he said, adding that the media will “play up anything”.
Nana concluded saying that he would continue doing his work and people can continue saying what they want.
Actor Nana Patekar denies sexual harassment allegations by Actress Tanushree Dutta. pic.twitter.com/vqyTpSkBm4— Mirror Now (@MirrorNow) September 27, 2018
Tanushree had alleged in a Zoom TV interview that Nana Patekar had sexually harassed her on the sets of the 2009 Hindi film Horn Ok Pleassss. She was shooting what was supposed to be her solo song (later performed by Rakhi Sawant) when Nana Patekar was on set. Tanushree alleged that he pulled her by her arms, tried to teach her the dance steps and even got an “intimate” step added to the choreography just so that he could touch her.
Tanushree also alleged that he called goons to the set, who vandalised her car as she attempted to leave. She added that the producer and director were complicit in her harassment and did not heed her complaints about Nana Patekar.
She also alleged that people in Bollywood knew about Nana Patekar’s harassment of women actors but stayed mum about it, and big stars like Akshay Kumar and Rajinikanth worked with him despite his acts of indecency against women in the film fraternity. Tanushree said that though she spoke about it then as well, no one came forward in her support.
Over 24 hours after the controversy surfaced, Bollywood has greeted Tanushree’s story with a resounding silence. In fact, the only people from the Hindi film industry who have responded to the controversy have either supported Nana Patekar or have denied comment.
Horn Ok Pleassss director Rakesh Sarang said that Tanushree had “misjudged everything” , including Nana Patekar's “encouragement”. Nana was apparently shooting a song after many years because of which he was "very excited". Using the same vein of thought as Nana, Rakesh said that no one would try to harass a woman in front of hundreds of people. “There were around 400 people on the set that day. Will anybody take advantage in front of 400 people,” he said.
Like many others, Rakesh brushed off Tanushree’s story saying she was merely trying to create controversy because she may want a comeback in Bollywood.
Ganesh Acharya, the choreographer of the song, has also supported Nana Patekar. Claiming that the incident happened a long time ago and that he does not remember it clearly, the choreographer said that ‘Nathani Utaro’, the song Tanushree was shooting for, was always a duet song. He said that “something” did happen that day because the “shooting was stalled” because of some “misunderstanding”.
Ganesh also denied that goons had come on set and vandalised Tanushree’s car and harassed her family. However, the account of a journalist, Janice Sequiera, who was on set to cover the behind the scenes of the song, confirmed that this happened. Janice tweeted what Tanushree had told her at that time, and said that it matched the sequence of events she described in the interview to Zoom TV.
Out of nowhere, goons turned up and began banging against the vanity van door. I was told the producers had called them to set. Cops arrived. Amidst this chaos, I got hold of #NanaPatekar. All he said was, “Meri beti jaisi hai”, which didn’t really make any sense at that point.— Janice Sequeira (@janiceseq85) September 26, 2018
Eventually, Tanushree’s parents arrived to pick her up. Her car was attacked, the windshield broken. I tried to get in touch with Tanushree to get her version of events. Around midnight, she asked me to come to her place. In tears, she narrated what really happened. #NanaPatekar— Janice Sequeira (@janiceseq85) September 26, 2018
Meanwhile, two other Bollywood stars were asked about the controversy. Amitabh Bachchan said that since he was unrelated to both Tanushree and Nana Patekar, he could not comment on the issue. Aamir Khan said something similar – that without knowing the veracity of the issue he could not comment. He added that the matter should be investigated.
Without knowing the veracity of something, it's not right for me to comment on it. But whenever something like this does happen, it's a sad thing. Whether this has happened, that is for people to investigate it: Aamir Khan on Tanushree Dutta accusing Nana Patekar of harassment. pic.twitter.com/SCyofoF7Xs— ANI (@ANI) September 27, 2018