Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan Thursday evaded a direct answer when asked about actor Tanushree Dutta’s claim that Nana Patekar harassed her on the sets of a film in 2008, an allegation that is being seen as Bollywood’s #MeToo moment.
“My name is not Tanushree and my name is not Nana Patekar,” Bachchan said when asked to react to Dutta’s recent TV interview.
Khan said it would not be right for him to comment but “whenever something like this does happens it is really a sad thing”.
The two stars were present at the trailer launch of their upcoming film “Thugs of Hindostan”.
Khan said it would be unfair on his part to comment on the controversy without knowing the “veracity” or the “details” of the matter.
“I don’t think I can comment on it... But whenever something like this does happens it is really a sad thing. Now whether such thing has happened it is for people to investigate it,” he said.
In a recent TV interview, Dutta said Patekar misbehaved with her on the sets of “Horn Ok Pleasss” 10 years ago.
The actor, a former Miss India-Universe who is now based in the US, also alleged that Patekar had the tacit support of the film’s makers.
Patekar, who had denied the claims at a press conference when Dutta raised the issue in 2008, remained unreachable despite several attempts to contact him for his version of what had happened.
Dutta’s allegations have opened a furious debate on sexual harassment in the Hindi film industry with many supporting her but others questioning her motives for raising the issue so many years later.
The actor, who has featured in films such as “Aashiq Banaya Aapne” and “Chocolate”, said she spoke about the issue earlier and no one had the right to say anything to her.
“They called me a slut, an unprofessional.. when I spoke about it eight to ten years back. Nobody has right to say anything to me,” Dutta told PTI.
Dutta said there is social stigma and character assassination that a woman goes through when she talks or tries to talk about such incidents.
Recounting the incident and its aftermath, she claimed she tried to escape but the situation went from being a “harassment situation to a mob lynching situation”.
“When I tried to escape they called the media, they called some people to mob lynch and attack my car. My parents were there inside and even I was inside, it was horrific. So from harassment situation to a mob lynching situation...”
“They made sure that we did not escape from the studio, they locked the gates and then the cops came and they got us out... So when we filed the police report, they filed a counter complaint and because of the counter FIR, my dad, hair dresser and spot boy had to go through so much harassment over the next couple of years,” she said.