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Bollywood: Is India's film industry having its #MeToo moment?

Bollywood: Is India's film industry having its #MeToo moment?

Bollywood: Is India's film industry having its #MeToo moment?
Former actress and Miss India Universe Tanushree DuttaImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Former actress and Miss India Universe Tanushree Dutta

"It was really creepy because he had to put his hands all over me."

Former actress Tanushree Dutta claims veteran Indian actor Nana Patekar behaved inappropriately towards her on a film set in 2008.

The #MeToo movement - which led to thousands of people sharing their stories of sexual harassment - started nearly a year ago.

It was sparked after allegations of rape and sexual misconduct were made against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, which he denies.

Now it's gaining momentum in India.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tanushree Dutta was crowned Miss India Universe in 2004

It's the biggest film industry in the world with multi-million pound productions.

But Bollywood had stayed pretty much silent on #MeToo, until now.

Tanushree Dutta claims that back in 2008 Nana Patekar demanded intimate dance steps be included in a song for the film Horn OK Please, despite her saying she was uncomfortable.

She told Radio 1 Newsbeat it was "reall y creepy because he had to put his hands all over me".

The former Miss India Universe, who was 24-years-old at the time, walked off set.

"I was labelled unprofessional, they called me crazy, drama queen, tantrum queen," she says.

Nana Patekar denies the allegations, which were widely reported at the time.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Actor Nana Patekar has starred in over 70 Bollywood movies

Nana Patekar has starred in more than 70 Bollywood movies over 40 years. The 67-year-old has been honoured in India for his dedication in Films and Arts.

When asked about Tanushree Dutta's allegations by a reporter in India, he said: "What do you me an sexual harassment? There were 50-100 people on the set with me. Will see what I can do legally."

Tanushree's allegations recently resurfaced after she was asked in an interview why Bollywood has not had its #MeToo moment.

Her reply, "How is any movement going to happen in India until and unless you acknowledge what happened to me ten years ago?" went viral.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionBollywood actresses Radhika Apte and Usha Jadhav are speaking out about sexual harassment

After the allegations in 2008, Tanushree left Bollywood. She says she turned down job offers because she felt "broken" and "humiliated".

"If something's not brought to justice or something's not acknowledged, you're always looking over yo ur shoulder. So I chose to stay away from movies.

"I was also afraid that something like this might happen again and if I speak up again I will be then labelled a problematic person," she told Newsbeat.

But 10 years on, #MeToo is in the spotlight around the world.

This time, Tanushree's claims have been supported on social media, which started with journalist Janice Sequeira who was on set in 2008.

Skip Twitter post by @janiceseq85

Some incidents that take place even a decade ago remain fresh in your memory. What happened with #TanushreeDutta on the sets of “Horn Ok Please” is one such incident - I was there. #NanaPatekar
[THREAD]

â€" Janice Sequeira (@janiceseq85) September 26, 2018
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End of Twitter post by @janiceseq85

Until now, Bollywood stars had not commented on Tanushree's claims.

But many have responded to Janice's long thread of tweets, including Priyanka Chopra.

Skip Twitter post by @priyankachopra

Agreed..the world needs to #BelieveSurviviors https://t.co/ia82UsCkkq

â€" PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) September 28, 2018
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End of Twitter post by @priyankachopra

Skip Twitter post by @FarOutAkhtar

This thread is very telling. @janiceseq85 was there at the time of the incident being debated today. Even when #TanushreeDutta had career concerns to keep quiet 10 years ago she did not & her story hasn’t changed now. Her courage should be admired, not her intention questioned. https://t.co/Ola3MNdmtS

â€" Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) September 27, 2018
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End of Twitter post by @FarOutAkhtar

Actress Sonam Kapoor shared a post which questions why some of Bollywood's biggest male stars have shied away from commenting on the allegations.

Skip Twitter post by @sonamakapoor

I believe #TanushreeDatta and @janiceseq85 recollection of the account. Janice is my friend, and she is anything but an exaggerator or a liar. And it’s upto us to stand together. https://t.co/sF3mS5o1P8

â€" Sonam K Ahuja (@sonamakapoor) September 28, 2018
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End of Twitter post by @sonamakapoor

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Amitabh Bachchan with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013

Amitabh Bachchan is one of the most famous faces in Bollywood.

In 2016, he wrote a long open letter on female empowerment to his granddaughter. When asked about Tanushree's allegations, he said he could not comment as he is neither Tanushree Dutta nor Nana Patekar.

Salman Khan is another household name in Indian cinema and is known as the "bad boy" of Bollywood for his controversial behaviour.

He has also been criticised for his response when asked about Tanushree Dutta's allegations against Nana Patekar.

"I am not aware of this my dear, let me understand what is happening. I don't know what is being talked about," he said.

Skip Twitter post by @ndtv

"I am not aware of this my dear...let me understand what is happening. I don't know what is being talked about," says Salman Khan on being questioned about Tanushree Dutta's allegations against Nana Patekar.
Read more here: https://t.co/KdT0qjgIyS pic.twitter.com/QgNvNVazYG

â€" NDTV (@ndtv) September 28, 2018
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End of Twitter post by @ndtv

Tanushree Dutta told Newsbeat she has had some support from Bollywood, but says there are others "who have chosen to stay away or have evaded the question altogether".

"They don't want to be a part of it, they just want to ignore it and want it to go away.

"I've gone through all of it before, I see through it. But it is affecting other people who might want to come forward.

"A movement can only start when there are more people and when some strict action is taken," she says.

Sexism and sexual harassment against women in India is nothing new, but could the #MeToo movement make a difference?

Skip Twitter post by @VidyaVox

Reading all of the gut-wrenching stories that have come out for the past few days in India’s #MeToo movement. Ladies, you are so damn inspiring & courageous and I’m with you! #itsabouttime

â€" Vidya (@VidyaVox) October 8, 2018
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End of Twitter post by @VidyaVox

Skip Twitter post by @SachinPilot

More power to the glorious and valiant women of India, who are braving through their own experiences to speak up for the rest!
We salute your exemplary courage, which is an example for the rest to emulate, to fight and to change the order of the world around us!#MeToo

â€" Sachin Pilot (@SachinPilot) October 7, 2018
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End of Twitter post by @SachinPilot

"Every film industry, every work environment anywhere in the world has a problem with sexism," says Mumbai-based film critic and journalist Sucharita Tyagi.

"Now that we have a stronger voice, now that we're in our thirties, we're not scared anymore and everyone's coming together to support everybody. If someone's speaking up, believe her."

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Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra - if you miss us you can listen back here.

Source: Google News Hollywood

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