Tanushree Dutta-Nana Patekar row has nothing to do with Amitabh, Aamir; leave them out of it

Bikram Vohra

October 04, 2018 20:07:59 IST

Where do Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan figure in Tanushree Dutta’s accusations against Nana Patekar?

When Hollywood had its #MeToo reckoning, was George Clooney castigated for not taking sides after Kevin Spacey fell from grace? Major stars spoke about Harvey Weinstein only after the allegations against the movie mogul had been widely reported, and prima facie evidence introduced. No star would risk being sued by offering a premature judgment. Even on the subject of Bill Cosby, they stayed silent. If I recall correctly, in many of these cases, legal petitions had been filed and Hollywood’s stars had been asked where they stood on specific issues — and not on particular persons.

So why are Bachchan and Khan being given a rough ride?

They did not witness what occurred on the sets of Horn OK Pleasss 10 years ago, so how can they say anything material. Moreover, why should they?

Read on Firstpost — Tanushree Dutta responds to Bollywood support over harassment row: Actions should align with tweets

Bachchan and Khan are not the moral compass of the country. Propelling an issue by harnessing third parties is not only arbitrary, but also unfair. These actors are neither the law, the judiciary, nor do they have any locus standii to offer an opinion just because they have been styled as authorities on everything under the sun.

In the Tanushree Dutta-Nana Patekar case, the law must decide, not Amitabh Bachchan or Aamir Khan. File Photo

In the Tanushree Dutta-Nana Patekar case, the law must decide, not Amitabh Bachchan or Aamir Khan. File Photo

Even if they have an opinion, it is irrelevant and is superseded by the accounts of the witnesses who were actually present when Tanushree retreated to her vanity van and then her car during the 2008 shoot.

The video of the unruly crowd destroying her car while the terrified actress was seated within, is harrowing. Was a Rent-A-Mob hired on speed dial? A more germane question would be why no one came to the rescue of the actress? That is horrifying and should certainly call for outrage.

As things stand, Nana Patekar has reportedly sent a legal notice to Tanushree Dutta though his lawyer, Rajendra Shirodkar. If the two parties do not reach some settlement, the matter will be heard in court.

Also on Firstpost — “The notice we have sent Tanushree Dutta denies all allegations and asks for an apology,” says Nana Patekar’s lawyer

What needs to be discussed in the “me, two” [sic] era in India is how we attempt to rope in unconnected parties — and then attack them because they opt to stay outside the boxing ring. The possible desire for an open house seems to be the propulsion for all the questioning — so much grist for the media mill.

That Tanushree spoke of the incident over the years certainly underscores her consistency. However, it is moot in the present context because her allegations have finally gained traction. Suddenly, Bachchan is on the backfoot, making absurd, defensive remarks like “My name is neither Tanushree Dutta nor Nana Patekar”. And then we have Salman Khan ducking the issue at a press conference because it has nothing to do with him. After which, Tanushree has upbraided these actors for being evasive.

Bachchan's comment garnered applause (at the Thugs of Hindostan trailer launch) though I am at a loss to see why. But he also got a fair bit of flak for it. The moment these stars choose to be circumspect they are labelled cowards and chauvinists and then there’s a baying for their blood as though they were the monsters.

Why would Bachchan, Aamir and Salman back Tanushree? The actress’ allegations have finally received attention; there is no statute of limitations for criminal cases, so she can go ahead (and file a police complaint). But you cannot coopt support through emotional arm-twisting.

In the Tanushree Dutta-Nana Patekar case, the law must decide — not Amitabh Bachchan or Aamir Khan. What roles they play or what virtues they espouse on screen are of no note; they are actors, not evangelists.

More of these accusations will surface in India over time. So be it, but let us not make it into a beanbag with which to hit celebrities.

Updated Date: Oct 04, 2018 20:07 PM