- "Nana sahib thought of the convenience of everybody," said his son
- "He wishes the best for the producer and the crew," he added
- "Stepping out of the project would be an appropriate thing," he said
Nana Patekar, who was to star in Housefull 4, has stepped out of the project citing 'convenience' of the production team the same day as Akshay Kumar (who is also part of the film) cancelled the shooting of the film over allegations against certain members of the film's team. Speaking to news agency ANI, the veteran actor's son Malhar said Mr Patekar quitting the project is the 'appropriate' step. "Nana sahib thought of the convenience of everybody as he wishes the best for the producer and the crew and hence felt that stepping out of the project would be an appropriate thing to do at this point of time," read the statement.
The statement about Nana Patekar's exit from the project arrived hours after Sajid Khan - who was directing Housefull 4 - signed his resignation from the project on Twitter after being accused of sexual harassment by three women in individual #MeToo accounts.
Two weeks ago, the #MeToo movement in India was set in motion by Tanushree Dutta, who named Mr Patekar as her alleged harasser. In separate interviews, one among them to NDTV, Ms Dutta alleged Mr Patekar misbehaved with her on the sets of Horn 'OK' Pleassss in 2008. Nana Patekar denied Ms Dutta's claims and subsequently sent a legal notice to Ms Dutta asking for an apology. Ms Dutta, who has been promised help by top film body Cine And TV Artists Association or CINTAA and has also reached out to the Maharashtra Women Commission, filed an FIR against Mr Patekar in Mumbai earlier this week.
Today, Akshay Kumar, who was holidaying abroad, tweeted to say that the shooting of Housefull 4 has been stalled till 'further investigation'. Riteish Deshmukh, who also stars in Housefull 4, 'seconded' Akshay Kumar's decision.
When Tanushree Dutta named and shamed Nana Patekar as a sexual predator, Mr Patekar was shooting with Team Housefull 4 in Jaisalmer. Soon after his return to Mumbai, Nana Patekar briefly met the media and said: "My lawyer has asked me to not talk to any channel, have to listen to him. I would say what I said 10 years back, the truth doesn't change." Before the press meet, Nana Patekar told Times Now that it would have been impossible for him to harass Ms Dutta on a crowded set and that he would sue for defamation.
Meanwhile, Sajid Khan has been accused of sexual misconduct by actresses Rachel White (of Ungli) and Saloni Chopra (of TV series Screwed Up), and journalist Karishma Upadhyay. While Ms Chopra accused the filmmaker of harassing her mentally, emotionally and sexually, Ms White alleged Mr Khan asked her to "seduce him in 5 minutes" for a role. Ms Upadhyay claimed that Sajid Khan started an interview with "trash talk" and added he tried to forcibly kiss her when she was trying to leave the room. Following the barrage of allegations, Sajid Khan's cousin Farhan Akhtar tweeted: "shocked, disappointed and heartbroken" while Mr Khan's sister Farah Khan, the producer of Housefull 4, said: "If my brother has behaved in this manner he has a lot to atone for."
This is a heartbreaking time for my family.We have to work through some very difficult issues. If my brother has behaved in this manner he has a lot to atone for.I don't in any way endorse this behavior and Stand in solidarity with any woman who has been hurt.— Farah Khan (@TheFarahKhan) October 12, 2018
I cannot adequately stress how shocked, disappointed and heartbroken I am to read the stories about Sajid's behaviour.— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) October 12, 2018
I don't know how but he will have to find a way to atone for his alleged actions.
As the #MeToo wave caught up with Bollywood, industry celebrities such as Alok Nath, Subhash Ghai, Kailash Kher and Vikas Bahl, among others have been named as alleged sexual harassers. Earlier this week, Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao stepped away from a film because of sexual misconduct allegations against a team member.