Tanushree Dutta’s revelation on facing harassment at the hands of veteran actor Nana Patekar shows how Bollywood protects its men. In a recent interview, Dutta revealed that Patekar harassed her on the sets of 2009 film Horn Ok Please. She says the actor not only manhandled her but also asked the director, choreographer and producer of the film to give him an intimate dance sequence with Dutta. According to her, “Everyone knows about Nana Patekar, that he has always been disrespectful towards women. People in the industry know that he has beaten actresses… he has molested them. His behaviour with women has always been crude, but no publication has printed anything about it.

Dutta’s horrifying recollection is just a scratch on the surface as far as abuse of women in Indian film industry is concerned. It is a proof how the men in the industry misuse their power and standing to harass, molest, intimidate and rough up women.

When will Bollywood and viewers begin questioning the conduct of industry men?

Dutta’s ordeal is almost a decade old, but has anything changed in the industry since then? It makes one wonder how deep-rooted misogyny in Bollywood is.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • Actor Tanushree Dutta accused Nana Patekar of harassing her on the set of 2009 film Horn Ok Please.
  • Dutta’s horrifying recollection is just a scratch on the surface.
  • Bollywood is known for its tight-knit male brotherhood, where all men unquestioningly support each other.
  • Dutta has given us yet another chance to confront the demon of harassment and abuse which lurks in Bollywood.

Patekar is not a conventional male lead or a big film producer, yet look at the influence he managed to wield. Just imagine how it must be for vulnerable young women around male superstars drunk on power and entitlement. It makes you shiver to imagine the extent of misdemeanours which Bollywood has scrubbed clean for decades now. While there’s a social media backlash to naming names, social media also helps amplify voices of victims.

Which brings me to the important part that we the viewers play in this dirty mess, because we keep idolising male film stars.

Many cine buffs love it when male film stars exude bad boy vibes.

And since the industry bows to popularity and money, it promotes this chauvinist attitude among male stars. Bollywood is known for its tight-knit male brotherhood, where all men unquestioningly support each other. Industry men have this agency to harass women because they find support both inside and outside the industry. As Dutta pointed out, she lost out on career opportunities when she spoke up against Patekar ten years ago. The man, on the other hand, went on to work with the likes of Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar.

But now that these allegations are out in open again, in a post #MeToo world, what are we the film viewers and Bollywood going to do about it? Will Bollywood bigwigs who always hide behind “No Comments”, dare to criticise Patekar’s conduct and propose to ban him from the industry? Will moviegoers extend support to women like Dutta?

Dutta has given us yet another chance to confront the demon of harassment and abuse which lurks in Bollywood. We have missed this opportunity on numerous occasions before. When a senior actor was recently accused of molestation by his cousin. When we flipped past rumours of superstars misbehaving and physically assaulting female actors. Both Bollywood and its fans have a chance to redeem the gross injustice lent out to women in the industry now. But the bigger question here is, do we even care?

Pic by Sakshi

Also Read : #MeToo: Tanushree Dutta Accuses Nana Patekar Of Sex Abuse

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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