The #MeToo movement has spread like wildfire. It all began when Tanushree Dutta revisited her 2008 ordeal on the sets of Horn Ok Pleassss. From thereon, a lot of women came out from different fields. While few chose to remain anonymous, a lot of them had no qualms in revealing their identity and also that of their perpetrator. The anger that erupted on the social media forced many employers to fire the predators.
But in some cases, justice hasn’t been done. Tanya Paul Singh, an assistant director, made 2 tweets on October 20 chronicling her experience on the sets of Tiger Shroff–Disha Patani action entertainer Baaghi 2 and the upcoming romcom De De Pyaar De, starring Ajay Devgn. She recounted how Adnan Shaikh, the first assistant director of Baaghi 2 and nephew of director Ahmed Khan would demand massages from Tanya and other girls in the crew.
Speaking exclusively to Bollywood Hungama, Tanya spilled more beans as she said, “He would demand massages even in the office of Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment. The executive producer (EP) Dipti Jindal would walk in the office and would casually comment ‘Yeh office hai ya massage parlour?’ There are CCTV cameras everywhere in the office and anybody can go back and have a look. However, Adnan used to do this very smartly – he’ll demand massages either before director Ahmed Khan would come or after he has left for the day.” She added, “None of us spoke at that point. I tried to speak about it but it was taken as a joke. Hitting on my thigh was done in lighter vein as per them. I had to be submissive when I would brush off his massage demands as he’s very tall. He’s 6 feet 3 inches and has an overpowering personality. You cannot go out and slap him”.
Tanya Paul Singh then stated, “It took me a month to identify that this is neither a normal behaviour nor a joke. This is a form of harassment. But it was done so manipulatively and that too in the presence of 4-5 EPs. So I used to feel that if someone has to sexual harass, he’ll do it when no one is around and not in the presence of 10 other people. I used tell myself that I am overthinking. Then my friend pointed out that I am not overthinking and that this is a subtle and repetitive form of harassment.”
She then explained how Adnan Shaikh would harass girls. Tanya said, “He would not check our call sheets till we give him a massage. And there are mangers of Tiger Shroff, Deepak Dobriyal, Manoj Bajpayee, Randeep Hooda, Prateik Babbar etc who would continuously ask me for call sheets and the schedule for the next day. So I’d give him a massage for around a minute and then insist that he does my work. Then I started keeping a distance from Adnan and would keep it strictly professional. For the next few months, we were shooting a very hectic schedule and hence, no harassment happened. Then on the last day of the shoot, I was wearing a full sleeve black top which had some rips at the back, similar to the ripped jeans. So Adnan commented that it is inappropriate and that ‘woh mera top aur bra strap khich dega’. I looked at him and in front of all the ADs, I told him that ‘yeh molester waali baatein mat karo. Tum set pe ho aur bas kaam ki baat karo’. However, I laughed it off and I felt a bit scared. Hence, I complained to the EP about it just to keep her informed. I also added that it’s no longer funny and that this has been happening since sometime. Also, since he’s a relative of Ahmed Khan, I never told him about it.” But Tanya gives a clean chit to Ahmed Khan. “He was absolutely not aware of these misdeeds and misconduct. He is very decent and has never, ever crossed the line. He treats women and everyone else in his team with utmost respect,” is what she asserted.
While the #MeToo movement began to pick up steam in the first week of October, Tanya reasoned why she talked about her experience so late. She said, “It took me ten days to write about my experience. I feared the #MeToo movement might fizzle out anytime. But then I saw so many women gathering courage and talking about their experiences. Then I decided that either I try to delete this incident from my life and never talk about it. Or else, I can make use of this revolution to tell my story. I felt I had a moral responsibility so that tomorrow, if a girl is in a similar situation, she can identify that this is a form of harassment and this is definitely not normal work behaviour. Baaghi 2 wasn’t my first film. I have done almost ten films before and never has such an experience happened with me before.”
In her two tweets, she tagged everyone in the Baaghi 2 from Nadiadwala Grandsons’ official Twitter handle to Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani etc. So has anyone from the production team or Mr Sajid Nadiadwala or Ahmed Khan reached out to her in these five days? She said, “Nobody from Nadiadwala Grandson has tried to reach to me. Only Dipti Jindal called me once. She says that she remembers that I had complained to her but feigned ignorance about Adnan’s misdeeds. I reminded her however that she was aware of it and she was the one who made the ‘Yeh office hai ya massage parlour?’ comment”
@NGEMovies @WardaNadiadwala @FoxStarIndia @DiptiJindal @iTIGERSHROFF @RandeepHooda @prateikbabbar @BajpayeeManoj @RakeshMadhotra @DirectorsIFTDA #iftda @ashokepandit @meghnagulzar @alankrita601 @konkonas @AyeshaShroff @RajeevMasand @anupamachopra #MeeToo #MeToo pic.twitter.com/JSvtRE7bvc
— Tanya Paul Singh (@tansunip) October 19, 2018
The Baaghi 2 experience left her depressed and it affected her health and weight. However, she soon bounced back and began work on De De Pyaar De where makeup man Harish Wadhone felt her up from her neck to her tail bone. She immediately raised her voice and the predator was fired. Praising producer Luv Ranjan and Ajay Devgn, Tanya Paul Singh mentioned, “They supported me in this ordeal. It was not my decision to fire him from the film. But Luv Ranjan said that nobody would behave like this with my AD. He told Ajay Devgn that your makeup man can’t step foot on my set and that if you really want him, then you can have him in your vanity van. But Ajay sir took a stand and discontinued his services. Mind you, that person was with Ajay Devgn since the time he began his career in 1991! Although he came on board with Taanaji, I am sure that he has learnt his lesson. As for Luv sir, I am thankful to him for eternity. He gave me the faith that industry mein sab gande log nahin hai.” She also added that this episode happened in May, some four-five months before #MeToo movement began in India.