Casting couch was always a part of the film industry and it’s very much prevalent even today! Many newcomers have to go through the mental and physical torment of casting couch in their lives as well as in their career.
In this competitive industry, film producers and casting directors hold positions of high power because they are the stepping stones that will lead the aspiring actors towards their dreams. However, this has given them a lot of power and sadly, since a long time, they have been exploiting it. Cases of sexual abuse and exploitation have been around from the early days of the film industry, and many women (as well as men) went through it to land their dream role.
Here’s what Casting couch exactly means: The casting couch refers to a mentality in which directors and filmmakers take undue advantage and favor from aspiring film actors or actresses. The youngsters are provided with the filmy option in exchanged of sexual favors.
Yes, this a thing that happens, but we rarely get to hear about it, except when stars come out and tell the world of what they’ve experienced. Of late, celebrities started speaking of the issue and getting open about it, which actually throws light on the dark side of Bollywood.
Here’s a list of actors who spoke about their casting couch experience. While some of them denied to do such favours, some agreed.
Actress Sherlyn Chopra who starred in the much controversial Kamasutra publicly admitted that she slept with a producer in order to get big project.
She is among the few celebrities who have been vocal about the presence of casting couch. Kalki openly admitted that in such situations, she made the best opportunity of it. And after being successful she simply rejected the offers when she was asked to compromise for that.
The infamous casting couch scandal in Bollywood is the Preeti Jain’s case which created massive controversy by putting allegations on the famous director Madhur Bhandarkar. Preeti Jain accused Madhur of raping her in return for role in 2004. After 8 years in court, the case was declared in Bhandarkar’s favor.
The fiery actress Kangana Ranaut has had a tough journey in Bollywood. The actress has known for her powerful screen presence revealed that once she was approached for the gratification of sexual pleasure which she declined.
“Fortunately, I never had to go through the casting couch. Honestly, I feel somebody has to be really dumb to think that they’d get a role for sleeping around. And I have never been so dumb — not even at the age of 17 when I started my career. People should use their common sense. It’s stupid if you actually believe someone who tells you that he or she is giving you a role only if you please him or her.”
“If the casting couch route was so easy, then all the women from the red light area would have been superstars today.”
Actress Geetika Tyagi accused Jolly LLB director Subhash Kapoor of sexually abusing her. Moreover, Geetika had shared a video on social media as a proof showing Subhash, his wife and her talking about the alleged incident. Both of them landed up in a controversy and it took quite some time to get silenced.
Filmmakers assumed that Sunny would be open towards such proposals as she formerly worked as an adult star. However, Sunny turned down the offer when a producer asked to sleep with her. In one of her interviews, she points out that one of the reasons she has survived in the largely male-dominated industry is due to her “fearless” nature.
Popular actress from the 90s, Mamta Kulkarni had accused filmmaker Rajkumar Santoshi of casting couch during the filming of China Gate. She claimed that the director had asked for sex as a compromise for the film. Even though the allegations were splashed in newspapers then, a few reports even suggested that Mamta had compromised for a role in the film.
Actress and Bigg Boss 2 contestant Payal Rohatgi had made shocking claims against popular director Dibakar Banerjee. She accused him for abusing touching her inappropriately. She also accused him by stating that once he offered her to be part of the movie by delivering him some pleasure but Payal simply refused the offer.
Tisca Chopra herself revealed to media that how she was once approached for something like this but instead of compromising on such stuff she never put her dignity down. Sharing her views on the matter, she once said, “It’s a question of supply and demand. The supply of actors is far greater than their demand and so the directors and producers demand something extra for giving chances to aspirants, I have never heard of anybody raping anyone.”
The popular face of Hate Story 2 and Parched, Surveen Chawla has also been a victim of the casting couch. When actress Surveen Chawla moved from Television to films, she faced the horrible demon of the casting couch. While the actress said that she has been lucky to have not faced it in Bollywood, she called out it as common in South Indian industry.
Actress Suchitra Krishnamoorthi who started out quite young in Bollywood has claimed that casting couch has been an open process in Bollywood. In an interview, the Suchitra claimed casting couch to be a norm in her times. She said that some of the incidents never get light because of the lack of evidence. In 2009, she reported an incident in her blog where she narrowly escaped sexual advances from a producer while casting for a film role.
Before establishing himself as an actor, Ayushmann Khurrana indeed was a well-known anchor of the small screen. It was during his struggling days some of the casting directors asked him to deliver sexual favors which he simply refused. He also stated to media that casting couch is a reality of the tinsel town.
Bollywood’s handsome hunk has once opened up about the issue that how he was about to became a victim of casting couch but he always considers his talent to be the superior so he never ever compromised on such things. In an interview the actor said, “Casting couch is a very real thing. I have experienced it first-hand. When I said ‘no’ (to his demands), he cried like a jilted lover. Later, I got to know that he does it to everyone.”