Mumbai, Oct 23: Tanushree Dutta, who kickstarted the #MeToo movement in India after reiterating her decade-old harassment allegations against Nana Patekar, Tuesday said such cases are not taken seriously in India but she is confident that she will get justice.
“I am hoping I will get justice. But not figured out what kind of justice I will get. There are rules and regulations, things are tweaked and twisted and there is corruption so justice gets delayed.
“Harassment cases are not taken seriously in our country. One is told to forget about it. This is the attitude but by allowing it you are creating an evil environment. I am in the fight and I know I will be getting retribution,” Tanushree said at Manthan Aaj-Tak event.
In September, Tanushree spoke about the bitter experience she had while working on a film in 2008 and once again accused her co-star Nana Patekar of sexual harassment while filming a special song.
Though quite a few industry people have shown their support to Tanushree, there are many who have stayed mum and the actor said the biggies are not talking about it as they view her allegations as a controversy.
“I was on national TV for ten years, I had a career in films and I had a career to lose. There was a situation where I had to defend myself. I did not speak because I wanted to be a hero but I wanted to defend myself.”
She is glad that today naming and shaming is happening and “if men are scared then they should be.”
When asked whether she imagined that the #MeToo movement will result in Patekar being dropped from a film, a minister facing the wrath and a film production house being dissolved, besides lot of women coming forward and talking about their own experiences, Tanushree said it was all surprising.
“Ten years back the coverage was mostly scandalous, sensationalised and nothing came out of it. The doors that I knocked did not open for me and I was left disappointed. I came back to India for a holiday and someone from media asked me why #MeToo movement is not happening in our country and my response was what happened to me was not addressed.
“This I did not say with any motive. This all came as a surprise to me. There are women who are still hesitant to speak up. This is just a tip of the iceberg.”
In her case, Tanushree said “it is all deja vu”.
“Everything has happened, like threatening of legal notice, MNS threat, smear campaign, all this happened ten years ago.”
When asked by Rajdeep Sardesai about what she would like to tell Patekar today, the actor said, “Nothing” as she believes in communicating with those who are intelligent enough to understand things.
“Somebody who called me a liar and did not have the basic intelligence to see the situation and apologise and redeem, do you think I talk to him? Why waste my time? My regret is how could I work with these people. How could I not see it. I should have got the instinct that these are not the people I would gel with.”
Tanushree said women earlier had reservations about opening up as the society tries to stigmatise and put shame on the victims.
“It was perhaps the time for it to happen. Change is a constant process. We are changing and transforming. This is happening systematically. When people felt they are safe and they would not be judged or condemned, they chose to speak,” she added.
What Tanushree fails to understand is why women are expected to prove themselves in cases of sexual harassment.
“It is going to be what ‘he said’ and ‘she said’. In my case, I have evidence. There are so many cases, where assault or rape has happened behind closed doors. You cannot put the onus on the victim or else women will have to put camera on their forehead everytime, if we have to prove things.”
Tanushree expressed her displeasure with certain section of people, including women, trashed the movement, calling it a publicity stunt.
“Whether it is an issue of the elite or of the masses, cases of sexual harassment need to be addressed. If we educated women do not talk then what hope are we giving to a woman in a village, who goes to khap panchayat to seek justice?.
“We have to be a part of change and transformation, why pass the buck to others? It needs little bit of discomfort and sacrifice or else we will move towards complete anarchy.”
She admitted that it is uncomfortable for her and everyone to talk about such incidents but she is doing so for the next generation.
“We don’t need to brush it under the carpet. By doing so, we are creating these people with our silence and complicity.” PTI