Several Malayalam actors have come forward to confess that casting couch was a rampant practice in the south Indian film industry. Hima Shankar Sheematty caused quite a flutter with disclosure that ‘bed with acting’ package existed in the cinema adding that she was unperturbed with the backlash she has been receiving after the revelation.
She told ANI, “After the recent press conference, many negative comments are coming my way. This may even end my career, but I don’t care. I want to tell this to people that acting is a career and not a business based on body. I really want the support of people.”
In April 2017, another Malayalam star, Parvathy, had said that how in her struggling days, she would asked for sexual favours by film-makers.
She had said, “There are people in the industry, who ask women to sleep with them in order to get a role. I have been asked. They ask very blatantly as if it is their right. I have said NO. After a point, when you have made a mark in the industry, they won’t ask you.”
Women in Cinema Collective in Kerala, an outfit of women in malayalam film industry, too had earlier claimed that the practice of ‘casting couch’ existed in the industry and sought the government-appointed commission to probe into this aspect also.
WCC in its facebook post stated that they totally disagree with the remark of the President of Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), Innocent, MP, that ‘casting couch’ practice was a thing of the past.
WCC said, “We strongly dissent with the remark of Innocent that gives an impression that film industry was free of sexual harassement. Several persons who come to this field are subjected to various types of exploitation. Some of our colleagues themselves had openly talked about casting couch very recently.”
The Kerala government had appointed a Commission headed by former high court judge K Hema to look into the problems faced by women in malayalam film industry in May last, on the basis of a memorandum submitted by WCC when its leaders met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
(With inputs from PTI)