EXCLUSIVE: Tanushree Dutta reveals how she stays strong amid the #MeToo backlash
Here’s why victim shaming doesn’t affect her
The #MeToo movement in India has gained momentum, emboldened women to raise their voice, and held men accountable for their actions. And it all began with actor Tanushree Dutta who recently spoke about Nana Patekar sexually harassing her on the sets of Horn OK Please in 2008. Since then, other Bollywood personalities like Sajid Khan, Kailash Kher and Anu Malik have been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment.
As with any woman who calls out inappropriate/criminal behaviour, Tanushree has seen victim shaming on social media. Through it all, Tanushree has been a picture of strength and grace. “Any time a person speaks up against any kind of evil, it can invoke a lot of negativity and toxicity from bad men and women who want to keep the systemic abuse going for their selfish purposes. To combat that, a steady spiritual shield or system must be in place so one doesn’t get too affected by the backlash. By God’s grace, I have held up reasonably well through all this. The last eight years of my deep spiritual sadhana (disciplined practice) are to be given credit for this ability to stand firm in the middle of a storm,” she says.
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If this surprises you, allow us to remind you that Tanushree has been actively pursuing various spiritual paths since 2010. She’s shaved her head completely, lived in an ashram in Coimbatore and a nondescript monastery in Ladakh, and explored religions like Buddhism and Christianity. “I have walked in the presence of God and followed his guidance. I don’t need to settle in one module. I will never be fully identified with any particular religion or path because neither is he. He is the one from whom all paths came forth,” she says.
While coming forward with their #MeToo stories or simply lending their support to the movement, many women on social media have been vocal about experiencing anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. To them, Tanushree recommends: “Devotion-filled prayers, yoga, meditation, holistic healing, cleansing and detox, deep breathing exercises and pranayams. These are age-old systems of getting relief from any psycho-spiritual imbalances in the human body and mind. Of course, for those that prefer a more modern approach, counselling and psychiatric help can also be an option. There should be no stigma and shame associated with getting any kind of spiritual or psychological help.”
Tanushree has just returned to Mumbai after a 5-day detox getaway at the Atmantan Wellness Centre in the Sahyadris (past guests there include Parineeti Chopra and Malaika Arora). “I was on break from all the media frenzy I have been involved in. Thanks to the massages, Ayurvedic treatments and spa sessions lined up, I did not miss much of the usual digital and social media platforms,” she says.
She often leaves the buzz of the city behind and jets off on short and long retreats to connect with herself. “I always do this kind of physical cleansing detox and spa holidays to get deeper into my spiritual practices. The body, mind/soul and spirit are intertwined and to heal or pamper one affects the other in some way,” she says.