New Delhi: Various individuals and groups from Hyderabad have come out in support of actor Tanushree Dutta who accused Nana Patekar of harassing her eight years ago. Condemning the pervasiveness of a culture in Indian film industries that allows men to objectify and harass women, the group has demanded that Nana Patekar and Vivek Agnihotri submit themselves to the grievance redressal mechanism within the industry.
Tanushree Dutta in a recent interview, revealed that film actor Nana Patekar sexually harassed her on the sets of the film Horn OK in the year 2008. She said that the actor made her feel uncomfortable on the set by repeatedly touching her inappropriately. She further accused film director Vivek Agnihotri and dance choreographer Ganesh Acharya of passing lewd remarks during the shoot. The video footage of the incident showed how Patekar’s political supporters were called on the set to punish her for not complying with their orders. The alleged assaulters have denied all the allegations and have also filed defamation case against her for tarnishing their public image. A lot of people from film and entertainment industry have come out in support of her ever since she came out in public.
The Hyderabad collective brought to light the ongoing cases of sexual harassment in the Malayalam film industry which lead to the formation of Women in Cinema Collective in Kerala in order to raise a strong voice against sexism and misogyny in industry. Furthermore, they spoke about the protest by actress Sri Reddy against the harassment and exploitation of women in the Telugu industry which also inspired other women artists to share their experiences of discrimination on the basis of skin colour and economic exploitation by the brokers.
As a consequence to it, memorandums with various demands were placed before the cinematography minister of Telangana, the State Women’s Commission and the Film Development Corporation. Recently, a PIL was also filed in the Hyderabad high court to demand a high level committee to investigate in to the matters of sexual harassment and exploitation of women and transgender people in the Telugu film industry.
The Hyderabad collective has also appreciated Cine & TV Artists Association’s (CINTAA) support for Tanushree Dutta while acknowledging its own failure to address her complaint eight years ago. Referring to the #MeToo movement in Hollywood, they have appealed to the entire film fraternity to support the actress so that other women could gather the courage to share their grievances. Furthermore, the group has demanded that CINTAA amend their rules and immediately look into the issue.