Sorry, Tanushree Dutta. This is Bollywood and It Lives in Denial

Gender

Sorry, Tanushree Dutta. This is Bollywood and It Lives in Denial

Illustration: Akshita Monga

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xactly a week ago, 34-year-old Tanushree Dutta, a former beauty pageant winner and Bollywood outsider whose presence would otherwise be confined to fitful mentions in tabloids, did the unthinkable: She revolted. Against the yawning abyss of Bollywood that drowns out any voices of dissent. She compelled them to listen to every word she uttered on national television.

In her controlled, but moving account, Dutta eschewed conventional industry decorum, making direct and public accusations against actor Nana Patekar, who sexually harassed her with impunity on the sets of Horn Ok Pleasss. She called out the hypocrisy of A-list actors who continued working with Patekar – a man whose abusive behaviour is an open secret – and the archaic mechanisms of a supposedly modern industry that continues to protect predators. In reminding the country about the intimidation, violence, and harassment she single-handedly endured back in 2008, Dutta exposed the apathy of the Hindi film industry, that passionately fosters a culture of denial.

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