Tanushree Dutta has spoken up. Bollywood, your turn now?
Nana Patekar sexually harassed me, said Tanushree Dutta, and one would expect all hell to break loose. More so, since #MeToo isn't even a year old, and everyone's waiting for Bollywood's #TimesUp to happen. But did it? It is still a long time for that, it seems. The kind of slut-shaming Tanushree is facing, makes one wonder, will Bollywood ever speak about the predators?
What happened with Tanushree on the sets of 'Horn OK Pleassss' in 2009, is sickening. She was supposed to shoot a song, but at the last moment, she was informed there were some changes in it. Tanushree was supposed to dance solo, but Nana Patekar wanted to join her in an intimate sequence. When she rebuffed, goons came and attacked her vehicle.
By speaking up, which she did even a decade ago, Tanushree has displayed courage. Standing up to an actor like Nana's stature, cannot be easy. She has mustered the courage, and her story can sew seeds for Bollywood's #MeToo, only if she was believed more, judged less. After her story, it is now on Bollywood (looking at you A-listers) to speak up.
The #MeToo movement in Hollywood brought down a giant like Harvey Weinstein, and soon all mics turned to Bollywood actresses. They were asked about the Weinsteins closer home, and no name cropped up. Priyanka Chopra said there is not 'a' Harvey, there are many. Similarly, Swara Bhasker said a director groped her and harassed her with texts and dinner invites. No names mentioned, again.
Quite recently, Radhika Apte said that a man on a film's sets offered to rub her back. Upon confrontation, the man said he didn't realize she was uncomfortable. About why the #MeToo didn't happen in Bollywood, Radhika said, "We need to have a good support system and come out of our fears. Well, not just women but men too are harassed in our industry."
Weighing in on the #MeToo movement's absence, Huma Qureshi said once, "It's not going to happen and the reason it worked in Hollywood because a lot of senior and respected actresses spoke about it. That's what really gives the #MeToo movement a lot of momentum."
It should be noted the actresses didn't deny the existence of sexual assault. That Bollywood is an industry with rampant power abuse, is established. Their accounts were devoid of names, but Tanushree's isn't. There were talks of the movement needing momentum, and Tanushree may have just given that. Waiting for the news to die down might be the biggest sin Bollywood commits now.
The beloved stars of the silver screen are known for staying silent on pressing issues, but repeating the same behavior after Tanushree's account would be hypocritical. That stars are privileged and should use that to speak up on matters, is something they accept too. Now, is certainly the time to address the elephant in the room along with their pet projects.