- "What she speaks about is definitely the reality," said Kajol
- "I wouldn't say it's restricted to our industry," she added
- "I think it's pretty much a concern all over," said Kajol
Actress Kajol, who has spent years in the film industry and also belongs to a film family, told NDTV that Tanushree Dutta's harrowing story of harassment is 'definitely the reality' and while she, Kajol, never had a personal encounter with the sort of trauma Ms Dutta describes, she would have spoken out if it happened in front of or to her. Kajol, currently promoting her film Helicopter Eela, also said she has been too busy with publicity work to have fully acquainted herself with Ms Dutta's allegations of harassment against Nana Patekar but that it shouldn't have happened, if it did. The 44-year-old star pointed out that sexual harassment is not restricted by gender and that no industry is free of it.
Tanushree Dutta recently renewed a decade-old accusation of harassment against Nana Patekar who, she says, behaved inappropriately while filming a song sequence and then sending goons after her when she rejected his advances. Kajol told NDTV, "What she speaks about is definitely the reality and I wouldn't say it's restricted to our industry. I think it's pretty much a concern all over, which ever field we talk about." She also stressed that men are also vulnerable to sexual harassment.
Kajol, daughter of actress Tanuja and related to a whole bunch of film folks, said she's heard of plenty of rumours of harassment and that it's never happened to her. "I've never seen it but I have heard about it and it's always in rumour form. You never know it, no one is going to come up to you and say 'Hey, I did this!' I don't know how much of it is actually the truth or not."
Kajol said it's 'sad' that Tanushree Dutta suffered as she did and that she's confident that she, Kajol, would have 'done something' if she'd been witness to harassment: "If it had happened in front of me, I'm sure I would have stood up or done something about it. Never happened to me. I don't think it would have happened in front of me."
About the urgent need for Bollywood's very own #MeToo movement, the Helicopter Eela actress said that the concept aims to help open up not just women of repute but also empower everyone with a voice to speak up against what's wrong: "Most importantly, the whole point of the #MeToo movement is so that you can stand up for yourself even if not on a public platform. You need to stand up for yourself. You see people stand up for themselves and you stand up for yourself wherever you are," she said.
Watch the full interview here:
In explosive interviews to several media outlets, one to NDTV as well, Tanushree Dutta has alleged Nana Patekar harassed her on the sets of 2008 film Horn 'OK' Pleassss - he allegedly hijacked a song shoot, inserting himself into the sequence and allegedly demanding that dance moves that would allow him to inappropriately touch Ms Dutta be introduced. Later, Nana Patekar allegedly sent thugs to intimidate Ms Dutta by attacking her car and her vanity. While Nana Patekar has continued to deny the allegations and has asked for an apology from the actress, celebs such as Priyanka Chopra, Sonam Kapoor, Twinkle Khanna and others have supported Ms Dutta in strong voices. Stars such as Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan have shied away from taking sides with diplomatic answers.
Meanwhile, the youth wing of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena or MNS - the political outfit allegedly involved in attacking Tanushree Dutta's van and car - has threated the makers of reality show Bigg Boss if Ms Dutta were to be featured in the current season, news agency ANI reports. Cine And TV Artistes Association or CINTAA, the film body that Tanushree Dutta complained to 10 years ago, also apologised for having ignored Tanushree's complaint a decade ago.
Tanushree Dutta moved to the US after her 2010 film Apartment and revived the decade old controversy after she decided to speak up again in the light of the #MeToo movement. In her accusations, Tanushree has also named choreographer Ganesh Acharya, director Rakesh Sarang and producer Sami Siddique of Horn OK Pleassss as "culprits" to have teamed up with Nana Patekar against her.
Meanwhile, Kajol co-stars with National-award winning actor Riddhi Sen in Helicopter Eela. Directed by Pradeep Sarkar, Helicopter Eela is all set to hit screens on October 12.