Amidst raging controversy over the phenomenon called casting couch in the Indian film industry, one female Bollywood actor has spoken about her own experience with a casting agent in the past.
An unnamed Bollywood actor told BBC how a casting agent had touched her ‘wherever he wanted’ and kissed her ‘wherever he wanted.’
She 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.”
On being asked why she never went public the unnamed actor told the BBC reporter, “If someone speaks up, everybody trashes the girl and say that the girl is publicity hungry. She has no talent and probably she has nothing to do and she wants money.”
Another actor Usha Jadhav too shared her experience of being at the receiving end of casting couch early on in her career. Jadhav said, “He said very bluntly that ‘See I like you, you know that but I need this sexual relation with you.’ I said no. Then he said ‘you are saying no, then I am not going to cast you in my films…And I was like, ‘I don’t think you have that much of power,'”
Actor Radhika Apte, who too had spoken on the phenomenon called casting couch in the past, said, “I’ve started talking about it openly. To be very honest with you, I do empathise with all those people who’re very scared to talk about it. That’s because people don’t think that ‘my voice is going to matter.’
Farhan Akhtar, said, “It’s an unfortunate reality and hopefully it will change. It will only change through women speaking up. Some amount of shaming happening, I guess, will put fear in people’s heart.
On Tuesday, noted choreographer Saroj Khan had courted controversy by justifying casting couch saying that the girls had the choice to not give in to the producers’ demand for sexual favours in exchange of roles. Hours later, Congress leader Renuka Chowdhary had dropped a bombshell saying that even the parliament was not immune to casting couch.