Tanushree Dutta: Appalled Nana Patekar got clean chit
It was at 4 am in New Jersey on Thursday (June 13) when Tanushree Dutta received a call from her publicist stating that the Mumbai police had dismissed her sexual harassment case against Nana Patekar. The collapse of the case evidently came as a blow to Dutta, who sparked off Bollywood's #MeToo movement late last year.
Dutta, who had followed her case till the end, often pulling up the system for delaying the proceedings, is evidently perturbed. "This is just not done," she says, alluding to the fact that the news was being broken to her by her publicist. "The police is supposed to inform me or my advocate first. We were kept in the dark. The cops were in a hurry to reveal the developments to the media. I am appalled that they have given him [Patekar] a clean chit. I wasn't expecting justice, but the way things were done is sad. Why the hurry when the witnesses were yet to testify?"
Citing a decade-old incident that took place on the sets of Horn OK Pleassss when she first accused Patekar of harassment, Dutta was egged on to take the legal route to add weight to her words. "I was told to file an FIR; I did. I was asked to get witnesses; I did. There is a video recording of my car getting attacked while I was seated in it on the set. I have given a copy of the letter that I wrote to CINTAA complaining about the 2008 incident. [How can they cite] lack of proof?" she questions. Having previously pointed out that rape accused Alok Nath too got a clean chit, she makes her thinning faith in the Indian judiciary evident. "I know how these systems work. On the surface, it is one thing, but internally there's a lot of plotting and manoeuvring," she says, before asserting that her co-actors in the film could have extended their support. "I am told that [Daisy Shah] does not remember anything. It is a convenient amnesia."
Those who did speak up are equally bothered by the verdict. Horn OK Pleassss assistant director Shyni Shetty tells mid-day, "I recorded my statement at the Oshiwara police station, so this [news is] heartbreaking. I am not sure what proof are the cops looking for," says Shetty. She had extended her support to Dutta at the onset of the movement when stating: "it was obvious something happened". Shetty now adds, "I saw her leave the set twice, but how does one verify if she was touched inappropriately. The police is looking for technicalities. Should there have been a rape for them to act on this? How do they expect sexual mis-demeanor to be proven?" Even as the verdict has divided the fraternity, Dutta says the fall of this case shouldn't deter others from speaking up. "[Women] will never get justice in court. Law-enforcers will not hear [them]. So, they must continue to name and shame their perpetrators on social media. #MeToo is more of a social movement."