Tanushree Dutta stayed in the US for several years after the alleged incident (Image courtesy: Instagram)
- Vivek Agnihotri had allegedly asked Tanushree to strip on set
- "I have been slapped with two legal notices," Tanushree said
- "This is the price you pay for speaking out against harassment," she said
Tanushree Dutta has received two legal notices from Nana Patekar and filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri respectively, reports news agency ANI. Ms Dutta called it 'the price for speaking out against harassment.' The 34-year-old actress has accused Nana Patekar of harassing and threatening her on a film set a decade ago; Vivek Agnihotri allegedly told her to strip off camera for a scene while filming 2005 movie Chocolate. A lawyer for Nana Patekar, currently filming Housefull 4 with Akshay Kumar in Jaisalmer, said last week that a legal notice had been sent to Tanushree Dutta demanding she apologise. Ms Dutta said then she had not received the notice. Today, she said in a statement, "I have been slapped with two legal notices. One from Nana Patekar and another from Vivek Agnihotri. Both their teams are on a smear campaign against me by constructing outright lies and misinformation on social media platforms and other public platforms," Tanushree Dutta said in a statement, ANI reports.
"This is the price you pay for speaking out against harassment, humiliation, and injustice in India," she added.
Like Mr Patekar, Vivek Agnihotri has denied the allegations against him. His lawyer Nidhish Mehrotra said that they have sued the actress on the charge of defamation, reports PTI: "The allegations levelled against my client Vivek Agnihotri by Tanushree Dutta for misbehaviour and/or harassment are absolutely false, frivolous and vexatious. These allegations are deliberate and have been borne with an intent to attract publicity and wreak personal vendetta against my client with mala-fide intentions. On the instruction of my client, we have served a legal notice to initiate defamation action against her."
A film industry member who worked on Chocolate as associate director has defended Mr Agnihotri in a long Facebook post suggesting that Ms Dutta is not credible because she had 'major mood swings' and couldn't 'understand commands and instructions' on set.
Tanushree Dutta has also alleged that she has been getting violent threats from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and that two people recently tried to barge into her home. The Raj Thackeray-led MNS is the same political outfit allegedly involved in vandalising Tanushree Dutta's van and car when she had opted out of the 2008 film (Horn 'Ok' Pleasss) in question.
"Violent threats are being issued against me by the MNS. Today, while I was at home and the police personnel posted outside my home were on a lunch break two unnamed suspicious individuals tried getting into our home uninvited but were stopped just in time by security personnel. I'm being threatened to be dragged to the court and legal system of India as we all know can keep a woman and her supporters as well as media silent on the pretext of 'matter sub judice'," Tanushree Dutta said, ANI reports.
On Wednesday, MNS also handed over a letter to the makers of the reality show Bigg Boss 12 on their set in Lonavla, threatening violence if Tanushree Dutta participates. Bigg Boss 12 is hosted by Salman Khan, who, when asked about the Tanushree Dutta and Nana Patekar controversy, had said, "I'm not aware of this, my dear. Let me know and understand what is happening..."
Meanwhile, the Aashiq Banaya Aapne actress told ANI, "Court cases can run for decades without a hope for a conclusion. In the end, an empty shell remains with broken hopes. A life wasted, defeated- this is the age-old saga of survivors in our nation."
Nana Patekar, accused of harassing Tanushree Dutta while filming a song sequence in 2008 and then sending political thugs after her, was defended yesterday by Maharashtra Home Minister Deepak Kesarkar who told the media that the actor "is also a social activist who has done tremendous work for the state. You just cannot level allegations against anybody." While several film industry members have publicly supported Tanushree Dutta - many of them citing an eyewitness account from a female journalist who said she was on set Mr Patekar allegedly harassed the actress - actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and Shakti Kapoor have made headlines because of their poor responses to the controversy.
(With ANI and PTI inputs)