Tanushree Dutta accused Vivek Agnihotri of allegedly sexually harassing her on the sets of Chocolate: Deep Dark Secrets, his 2005 film. One of the incidents that she remembers was when she was told to strip and dance to provide the actors with cues. The actors Irrfan Khan and Suneil Shetty took a stand for her and put an end to it.
She had recently also accused Nana Patekar of alleged sexual harassment which happened a decade ago. This has opened up the discussion on cases of harassment in Bollywood and the film industry, and has taken the form of the popular tag, #MeToo. Many Bollywood celebrities have come out in support with Tanushree such as Aamir Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra including many others.
In an interview to DNA, she 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 strip and dance, give (Irrfan) cues.”
Tanushree said that she really appreciated the fact that Suneil Shetty and Irrfan Khan spoke up when they heard what Vivek Agnihotri said in a shot that she was even supposed to be in
Hearing what the director had said, Irrfan immediately assured Agnihotri that he could act without her dancing in front of him. She said that Suniel was also present on set and immediately spoke up and told Agnihotri that if cues were required then he could give them.
Tanushree said that she really appreciated the fact that Suneil Shetty and Irrfan Khan spoke up when they heard what Vivek Agnihotri said in a shot that she was even supposed to be in.
In an interview to Zoom, Tanushree spoke about the importance of powerful people taking a stand against sexual harassment. She said that Nana Patekar’s attitude towards women has “always been disrespectful” and that most people in the film industry know his background, with his regards to treating his female co-stars.
“The entire industry saw what happened but there was not one word of condemnation from anybody. Every single person in this country remembers my incident and this was something on national TV for three days but even today there’s a stoic silence on that. So, my question is, ‘Who is going to believe these hypocrites?’ These are the people who stand up and raise their voice against women empowerment,” she said hitting out against the accused persons and celebrities who chose not to speak out about the incident or stand in support.
Nana Patekar broke his silence on Friday, September 28, and laughed it off, stating that he was contemplating legal action against Tanushree.
Some actors and celebrities have also chosen to not say much about the case like Amitabh Bachchan in a recent press conference where he dodged questions on the case. Vivek Agnihotri often gets into altercations online with members of the film industry.