What is Me Too?
‘Me Too’ or #MeToo is a movement that was initiated back in 2006 by Tarana Burke, a civil rights activist from Bronx, New York.
Burke started this movement with aim of giving voice to women who have suffered sexual assault and harassment and encouraging them to speak up against injustice.
The movement was started with the idea of “Empowerment by Empathy” to let the survivors of assault know that they can speak out against the wrong doers and they won’t be left support less.
The Time recognized Burke as “a silence breaker” and she also became “The Time Person of the Year” in 2017.
The Me Too movement started by Burke attained its true popularity in October,2017 when an American actress Alyssa Milano used #MeToo in her tweet asking the victims of sexual assault or threat to come out and let the world know their story. This #MeToo was tweeted more than 500,000 times within 24 hours of the tweet by Milano.
In October 2017, dozens of women used #MeToo accusing Harvey Weinstein, an American film producer of rape, sexual abuse, and sexual assault.
Following this, many powerful men of various industries world wide were accused of such charges leading many to leave and to be removed from their positions.
Me Too in India
As the global campaign against sexual assault and abuse was becoming popular in the world, the surge of the #Me Too movement came in India in October 2018.
In October 2018, Tanushree Dutta, a former Bollywood actress, and model and the recipient of Femina Miss India Universe title in 2004, accused Nana Patekar, an Indian actor, writer, and filmmaker of sexual harassment at the sets of the film ‘Horn OK Please’ in 2008.
many celebrities came in support of the actress and on social media and otherwise.
Following this, many other women came up accusing famous personalities of the film industry, politicians, writers, etc. of sexual abuse and harassment at the workplace.
A number of such accused came out of the allegations and also charged the complaint filer of defamation while some are still struggling with the allegations put on them.
The Nana Patekar Case :
Charges by Tanushree Dutta
On March 2008, Tanushree Dutta filed a case of sexual harassment against Nana Patekar at the Goregaon police station but no action was taken.
Again in October 2018, Tanushree Dutta resolved to the #MeToo movement to put allegations on Nana Patekar.
She filed an FIR against Nana Patekar and which also had mention of director Rakesh Sarang, choreographer Ganesh Acharya and producer Sami Siddiqui.
According to Tanushree, back in 2008 during the shooting of the film ‘Horn OK Pleassss’, Nana Patekar sexually harassed her during the shooting of a dance sequence.
She said that the song had to be a solo number but Nana kept lurking around the set. Nana Patekar had just one line sequence in the song but he tried to harass her during the rehearsal.
Tanushree had also asked to remove a scene from the song which made her uncomfortable as it had a close scene with Nana Patekar but Nana Patekar demanded the sequence to be in the song.
Tanushree had left the set in the middle of the shooting and was replaced by Rakhi Sawant.
Producer Sami Siddiqui told Tanushree in 2008 that he would claim, for the losses incurred to him because of her leaving the film.
Tanushree Dutta was accused of taking drugs on the sets by Rakhi Sawant for which she filed a defamation suit against Sawant.
Nana Patekar has given a clean chit
Nana Patekar denied of all the allegations put on him by Tanushree Dutta and sent a legal notice to her.
After all the investigations and inquiry, there was no proof found which said that Nana Patekar harassed the actress Tanushree Dutta. also, no solid evidence was found against Sarang, Acharya, and Siddiqui.
In 2008 also, the witnessed had denied any such activity at the set of the film ‘Horn OK Please’ and same happened in 2018.
There was a total of 13 witnesses questioned in the case including choreographer Daisy Shah, spot boy and others present on that set. All of these witnesses said that they saw no such incident during the shooting where Nana Patekar tried to harass Tanushree.
Also, according to the investigators of the case, ongoing through the contract and all the other documents of the case, they understood that Tanushree was pre-informed of a male character in the song shooting.
According to the report by the police, it appeared that Tanushree’s allegations were all an act of revenge and seemed to be fake.
Nana Patekar was at the end given a clean chit from the case in June 2019 in response to which Tanushree Dutta said that declaring free from allegations is an act of shame and she doesn’t want to return to India after such decisions.
Tanushree is facing much criticism and troll by the fans of Nana Patekar on social media after the declaration. However, Nana Patekar still has to put efforts to clean his name after the case.
Other cases of #MeToo involving Indian Celebrities
- Alok Nath, a TV and cinema actor was accused by the writer-director Vinta Nanda of raping her 19 years ago. Nath, however, denied the allegations and filed a civil defamation suit against Vinta Nanda. Actress Sandhya Mridul also accused Nath of making sexual advances towards her and she praised Nanda and Tanushree Dutta for raising their voices.
- Sajid Khan was charged with several such cases by various women including actress Saloni Chopra, Priyanka Bose and more. In effect of these allegations, Sajid Khan had to disconnect from the film ‘Houseful 4’.
- The director, Luv Ranjan was accused by an actress of asking her to strip at the auditions for the film ‘Pyar Ka Punchnama’.
- Sham Kaushal ( Vicky Kaushal’s father) was accused by an assistant director of showing her inappropriate video clip at the workplace.
- Anu Malik was accused by singer Sona Mahapatra of sexual harassment. However, she was badly trolled on social media after the case.
- Sona Mahapatra also accused Kailash Kher of misbehaving with her on their journey to Dhaka for a concert.