We're not done with discussing the casting couch yet and nor should we be. According to a mid-day
report, actresses Radhika Apte and Usha Jadhav have opened up their experiences with the casting couch in a BBC documentary and their accounts certainly don't mesh with what Saroj Khan said a few days ago. The National Award-winning choreographer incensed the Internet by normalising the casting couch
, in which those seeking work in the film industry are asked to trade sexual favours for jobs. Ms Khan, who later apologised, said: "At least the film industry provides work
and doesn't rape and abandon you." But it's not as simple as Saroj Khan makes it sound like when you hear National Award-winning actress Usha Jadhav's version. Here's what happened when a "powerful man" in the entertainment industry asked for "something in return" for a role. "I said something on the lines of, 'What? I don't have money'. He said, 'No, no, no, no. It's not about money, it's about you sleeping with, maybe it can be a producer, maybe it can be a director, it can be both too," Usha Jadhav said in the documentary, reports mid-day
Usha Jadhav has starred in films such as Traffic Signal
, Bhootnath Returns
. She won a National Award for her role in Marathi film Dhag
Radhika Apte, star of films such as Phobia
, also recounted her experience with the casting couch and said: "Some people are regarded as Gods. They are so powerful that people just don't think that my voice is going to matter
, or people think that if I speak, probably my career is going to get ruined." Radhika Apte also added that she hopes that Hollywood's 'Me Too' campaign (triggered after the Harvey Weinstein scandal) will spread across India too.
Apart from Radhika Apte and Usha Jadhav, the BBC documentary will also air the account of a 25-year-old aspiring actress, whose big Bollywood dream crumbled after her first meeting with a casting agent. "He started telling me that for an actress, you should be happy to have sex as and when possible, and embrace your sexuality," she is quoted saying in the documentary, reports mid-day
. "He touched me wherever he wanted, he kissed me wherever he wanted and I was shocked. He put his hand inside my clothes so I asked him to stop and he said, 'Do you know what, if you really want to work in this industry I don't think you've got the right attitude'."
Heard that Saroj Khan... will you still defend the casting couch?
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