When Mr. Amitabh Bachchan was asked to comment on actor Tanushree Dutta’s claim that Nana Patekar harassed her on the sets of a 2008 film, he replied, “My name is neither Tanushree Dutta nor Nana Patekar.”
Dear Mr. Bachchan,
As the crowd burst into applause after your statement, I could not help but glance at the two women sitting beside you.
And every time I subjected myself to replaying your response, I related increasingly with both their stoic faces. Faces that were cautious enough to hide any emotions to avoid public ridicule. Faces that were not surprised by you evading yet another important question. Faces that nevertheless, expected better from you.
Mr. Bachchan, two years ago you penned a letter to both your granddaughters. You spoke about the difficulties they will face in this society, as young women. But, when you were asked a hard-hitting question, you had the chance to form a minuscule dent in this absurd system. And you refused to take it.
I have watched “Pink” seven times. I was enamoured by the way it stressed on the importance of consent. A concept which is lost on some people. But, you proved today, that ‘superheroes’ like Deepak Sehgal exist only on screen. As with that tough question, you had the chance to emphasise the importance of believing a sexual assault victim in the real world. And you refused to take it.
I have heard you speak up for women empowerment, and I have seen you as the face of an important government campaign. But, if you had gathered enough courage to answer that question, today, you would have had the chance to empower at least one woman. And consequently, countless others. But you refused to take it.
Mr. Bachchan, my name is neither Tanushree Dutta nor Nana Patekar. But, I have the empathy to say I stand with her. To let her know that I do not find her claims absurd. That her voice is being heard, and that I hope she receives justice.
Mr. Bachchan, you have a far-reaching voice, literally. With all due respect, please put it to good use.
If not for us, at least for your granddaughters.
A fan. (Of Deepak Sehgal’s)