Actor Swara Bhaskar has opened up on her experience of facing the much-talked-about phenomenon, casting couch, in Bollywood.
Speaking to Indian Express, the Veere Di Wedding actor recounted an incident when a she met a man, claiming to be a manager of a top filmmaker. The man, she added, kept asking for her residential address during a meeting. She said, “When I got out this guy actually tried to kiss my ear and said ‘I love you baby’ and I kind of did that (gestures shirking away) so he got a mouthful of my hair so I was just like… so that kind of stuff happens. It’s all a part of casting couch, right?”
Swara’s comments on the alleged sexual exploitation of actors in exchange of roles in Bollywood films comes few months after another actor Richa Chadha had sensationally said that she would name and shame people if her safety was ensured.
She was quoted by PTI as saying, “If you give me pension for life, take care of my safety, my family, ensure I’ll continue to get work in films and TV or whatever I want to do, my career will grow unabated as it is right now after I name and shame somebody, sure I will. Not just me, million others will do that. But who will do it?”
In April this year, an unnamed Bollywood actress had told the BBC how a casting agent touched her ‘wherever he wanted’ and kissed her ‘wherever he wanted.’
She had said, “He touched me wherever he wanted. He kissed me wherever he wanted. I was shocked. He put his hand inside my clothes, so I asked him to stop. And he said, ‘You know what. If you really want to work in this industry, I am not sure you have got the right attitude.”
Leading Bollywood producer Ekta Kapoor had faced criticism earlier this year after she controversially said that it was not fair to always blame people in power for complaints of sexual harassment.
“In our industry, if one actor meets a producer at 2 a.m. and hooks up with him and after five days, if she wants a job based on that and the producer doesn’t give the job because he wants personal and professional things separate, then who is the victim here? The interpretation is always that the powerful person took advantage of the poor little budding actor or something that is always not the truth,” she was quoted by IANS.