Entertainment journalist Janice Sequeira tweeted her eyewitness account of the incident and tells My Nation why she chose to
Actor Tanushree Dutta has caused quite a controversy with her sexual harassment allegations against actor Nana Patekar.
In an interview, she said, "He misbehaved on the sets. He was being aggressive and was pushing me around. I complained about him, but it was not heard. They (film crew) were forcing me to do an intimate step. My contract stated that it was a solo dance sequence, and it was not supposed to be a duet. It was a way to manipulate me. This was the whole harassment situation going on.”
The incident took place in 2008 on the sets on Horn Ok Please. While the netizens debated the authenticity of Dutta’s claims and often end up victim-shaming, entertainment journalist Janice Sequeira tweeted in support of the actor as a witness to the incident.
“I watched the entire interview on the entertainment channel and it was a bizarre moment for me that this girl who had spoken to me ten years ago has finally found the courage to speak out. You can tell with the kind of passion that she’s telling the story that she is speaking the truth,” Sequeira told My Nation.
However, when she saw Tanushree getting trolled, she decided to take action. “Because I was on set that day I know what she was saying was the truth. When I saw people calling it a ‘publicity stunt’ that really made my blood boil. I knew if no one corroborated her version of the events, it would be buried. No one would care. I wish I could say this is the only incident I have ever heard of. But the joke is that it’s an open secret within Bollywood."
So far, Sequiera’s version has received over 2,000 retweets. She says, “What I wrote on Twitter is literally what happened ten years ago. I may forget other details, but as a woman, I don’t think I’ll ever forget a conversation with another woman who tells you that she’s been sexually harassed, and how humiliated and embarrassed she felt.”
Some incidents that take place even a decade ago remain fresh in your memory. What happened with #TanushreeDutta on the sets of “Horn Ok Please” is one such incident - I was there. #NanaPatekar— Janice Sequeira (@janiceseq85) September 26, 2018
Choreographer Ganesh Acharya, who was also present at the film set where the incident happened, has sided with Patekar saying “He’s a very sweet person, he can never do that. He is very helpful and he has actually helped a lot of artists in the industry, he can never do anything like that.” He also added that he doesn’t remember what happened that day as the incident is from 10 years ago.
Tanushree has termed the choreographer a ‘bloody liar’ and accused him of being an accomplice in the harassment. Janice agrees, “Do you really think he’s going to come on record to say that and jeopardize his relationships with so many other actors who may then wonder if he will speak out against them too? Of course, he won’t. He was an equal party to what was happening on the set that day. I would have applauded him if he had the courage to say that I had no choice but Nana Patekar and the producer told me to change the steps to include him in the dance moves. But, come on, that’s expecting way too much.”
Nana Patekar himself has laughed off the accusations saying, “What does she mean by sexual harassment? There were 50-100 people on set with me [at that time]…”
While none of the self-proclaimed feminists have come forward to address the issue, celebrities are already being pressured to give their take on the issue in press conferences held across the country today. While Amitabh Bachchan evaded the question, Aamir Khan expressed regret should the allegations be verified at a Thugs of Hindostan launch event.
Sequeira says, "This is why it is so important to talk about Tanushree’s story…I don’t know if it will ‘change’ anything but if this can even be a start of how we view stories like this it would have made a huge impact. This could be the start of #metoo, never say never."
Last Updated 6:55 PM IST