Tanushree Dutta and her parents are unlikely to forget March 26, 2007. "We've been through hell, and back. My car is smashed to pieces due to mob fury. But what has happened to my dignity and self-respect and my identity as a woman are irreparable," the shaken actress said.
It all started when Tanushree was approached to do an item song for Rakesh Sarang's Horn Ok Please. "I made it clear to the producer director and choreographer Ganesh Acharya that I'm not a run-of-the-mill item girl. I was very particular about my clothes and movements. We rehearsed for nearly a week for the song. And now they're saying I was uncooperative and not ready to rehearse."
What awaited Tanushree on the set was four days of horror. "From the start I wasn't comfortable with Nana Patekar's presence. In fact after the first day of shooting I told my mother something didn't feel right there. Nana had just three words O yara re in the song. Still he insisted on being around throughout. That was fine. He's the film's hero and it's his prerogative. But then he started acting hugely aggressive. Instead of the choreographer Nana started showing me the steps. I don't know since when he became an expert dancer."
Tanushree made her displeasure at the actor's intervention very clear. "A couple of times I pushed his hands away when he got too close for comfort. But it didn't seem to make a difference to him.”
He continued to direct my steps roughly and aggressively. Things got really out of hand when Ganesh incorporated steps where Nana could get physically close to me."
That's when the actress chose to walk off the set and locked herself up in her van. "Not for three hours, as they reported on the TV channels. But for 90 minutes.
They called up Mr Pahlaj Nihalani to intervene and he told them to change the steps if being a girl they made me uncomfortable. I finally came out of my van...only to be told they won't change the steps. Why? Was it Valmiki's Ramayan that every word had to be faithful?
I think the producer, director and choreographer had decided to teach me a lesson. They threatened to call the media on the sets and proclaim I was uncooperative. I didn't know how serious they were. Nana apparently had left by then."
Tanushree decided to leave too. "But my car with my parents in it was surrounded by hordes of TV journalists. When they couldn't get a sound bite from me they pushed themselves into the front seat of my car.
When that didn't work they began banging on the windshield with their cameras. My parents and I were trapped inside my car. Anything could've happened. We frantically tried to call the producer and director. They had both switched off their mobiles."
Finally someone had the presence of mind to inform the cops. That's when Tanushree and her parent's nightmare ended. The Duttas then lodged an FIR against those who allegedly attacked them in her car at the Goregaon police station.
"What I want to know is, where was the security at Filmistan studio when I was attacked? Where was the producer and director? They've wasted no time in replacing me with Rakhi Sawant for the song and labeling me uncooperative. But why did they realize how unprofessional I was on the fourth day?
Can they get others in the film industry to accuse me of undisciplined behaviour? Or did they think they could mess with me and manhandle me just because I'm a girl?