Tanushree Dutta has opened a can of worms, by talking about the misbehaviour she had to deal with on the sets of Nana Patekar’s Horn OK Please. The horrors of that day on set, are visible in the form of a video that has resurfaced on social media. The video sees a mob gathered outside Dutta’s car, smashing the windows and the windscreen. It’s horrific, and only offers a glimpse into the kind of injustice a female actor in Bollywood has to quietly endure, only to be considered ‘not difficult’.
Here are 6 other actresses, who had to endure a whole lot of BS to have a career in Bollywood. From a dignified silence, to tactfully navigating their way around sleazebags to openly confronting the perpetrators, they dealt with it in their own way.
1. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Most widely reported and one of the most infamous incidents of Aishwarya Rai’s Bollywood career is that of Salman Khan barging onto the sets of Chalte Chalte. Multiple reports like this one in India Today and many onlookers confirmed how Salman created a drunken ruckus, around the time Aishwarya was looking to end her relationship with him. Similar reports suggest that Shah Rukh Khan replaced Aishwarya Rai with Rani Mukherji, on Salman Khan’s insistence. Aishwarya Rai took a few years to recuperate from this abusive relationship and Vivek Oberoi, and finally managed to turn things around with her special appearance in Bunty Aur Babli, alongside the Bachchans. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, till date, hasn’t spoken about the harassment she had to endure before landing on her two feet.
2. Radhika Apte
Having done her first few films down South, Apte openly spoke about being on a Telugu film set. The leading man walked in and tickled her feet, something she didn’t ignore and immediately spoke out against. She confronted the leading man almost immediately, left him red-faced and as a consequence was not harassed during the rest of the film shoot. Apte has also been at the recieving end for her work in Leena Yadav’s Parched – where one of her nude scenes were circulated as ‘leaked MMS’. Instead of hiding from the brouhaha, Apte openly confronted media personnel who couldn’t stop hawww-ing about it.
3. Tisca Chopra
The Taare Zameen Par actor came out and recounted (in a very entertaining way!) how she had to deal with a creepy director/producer, during her early days of struggle. Chopra had accompanied the film crew on an outdoor shoot, where according to Chopra, the director/producer called her to his hotel room under the pretext of ‘discussing a few scenes’. Chopra managed to hoodwink her way out of the situation, where she actually got to keep her job without having to play along creepy filmmakers. Just goes on to say, how tactfully a female actor has to deflect unacceptable behaviour.
4. Kangana Ranaut
Ranaut came out as a victim of Bollywood’s misogyny, sexism and favouritism; and her ‘episodes’ of being mistreated by Aditya Pancholi (as a minor), lampooned by ex-boyfriend Adhyayan Suman and rumoured ex Hrithik Roshan, offer a disturbing image of how Bollywood relationships are nothing more than a carousel. Her current political inclination might also be an indicator for how single women, trying to make a living by not conforming to Bollywood status-quo, have to survive. One’s got to have some friends, some where. Her whole altercation with Hrithik Roshan became a ‘scandal’ but no one from her past abusive relationships was pulled up.
5. Swara Bhasker
One of the most vocal Bollywood celebrities on Twitter, Bhasker came clean about being stalked by a director. Like Tisca Chopra, Bhasker too was fairly new when she was on an outdoor shoot, when this director turned up drunk at her door. It was after midnight, and he insisted on getting a hug from Bhasker. The situation obviously scared the hell out of Bhasker as she confessed, where she would even have to remove her makeup with the light switched off in her hotel room, so that the director would think she’s asleep. For someone trying to make it in the industry, Bhasker has routinely fought the perception that she is ‘too opinionated’ to work with. Whether that has resulted in her losing work, we will never know.
Tanushree Dutta has really started something here in Bollywood. Bad behaviour, lecherous men at the workplace can no longer be the ‘normal’ for Bollywood, and hopefully other sectors too.