Tanushree Dutta says she had no choice but to slap a man who tried to act fresh with her at an event in Bangalore and she doesn't regret it.
"I didn't speak about it because so much has been written about my best friend Koena Mitra and I and our experience in Mumbai on New Year's Eve. But what happened to me in Bangalore on New Year's Day takes the cake. I wouldn't wish even my worst enemy to start a New Year in this manner," said Tanushree.
Koena was attacked by a stalker inside the Sahara Star Hotel on New Year's Eve after she had performed there.
In Tanushree's case it all started when the actress, who recently featured in Good Boy, Bad Boy and Speed, was invited to perform at the Garuda Mall in Bangalore for an event sponsored by Arvind Mills and Lee.
"I knew the organisers. So I gave up the chance to be with my parents, who've recently moved from my hometown Jamshedpur to Mumbai to be with me, and flew to Bangalore on New Year's. Little did I know what horror awaited me there!
"The security at the mall was practically nil. And there were thousands of people there. I was petrified because I was unaccompanied. On being assured that I'd be safe, I began to move to the stage. But on the way some guy broke the cordon and held my hand. I responded instinctively and slapped him hard."
Tanushree doesn't regret turning violent.
"A girl, whether in the industry or out of it, has to protect herself. In our film industry I've realised actresses are not respected at all. On top of that I've this hot and sexy image. But I was wearing jeans and a top on New Year's Day.
"I was covered from head to toe. I was still attacked. I hate it when the moralists argue that some women 'look for it' by dressing provocatively. That's another reason I kept quiet about the incident."
There's another reason too for Tanushree's silence. "Those organisers of the Bangalore event haven't paid me yet. I thought they eventually would. But it seems they have no intention of doing so. I now got to know that the same people have also been less than fair with Bipasha Basu and other actresses. At least these other actresses didn't have to spend their New Year day in an alien city all alone stranded at the airport." That's what happened to Tanushree that evening.
"After the fiasco at the event, I refused to go on stage again when the organisers asked me to. Come on, just because I'm an entertainer it doesn't mean I don't have any dignity!
"I insisted they take me straight to the airport. They dumped me there and left. There I was, alone. And my flight, which was to leave at 11 p.m., got delayed by two hours. So I finally reached home at four in the morning."
Tanushree's trauma raises the whole question of actresses and their safety at live events.
"The security at these events needs to be beefed up drastically. Not that I ever feel secure in public. No matter where I go, I always feel unwanted eyes following me. It's a dirty world out there," Tanushree can barely contain her disgust.