Casting Couch Everywhere, Parliament Not Immune: Renuka Chowdhary

"It is time that India stood up and said 'Me Too'," said Renuka Chowdhary, who retired from the Rajya Sabha recently.

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Renuka Chowdhary was responding to Saroj Khan's shocker on casting couch. (File)


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. "It is time that India stood up and said 'Me Too'," said Renuka Chowdhary
  2. She was responding to Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan's shocker
  3. "Bollywood gives work, doesn't abandon": Saroj Khan said on casting couch
Congress leader Renuka Chowdhary has said that the "casting couch" is the grim reality "not just in the film industry but everywhere", even parliament. The former parliamentarian was responding to Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan's shocker appearing to justify the "casting couch", the term that describes sexual favours for work, mainly in the entertainment industry.

"It is not just in the film industry. It happens everywhere and it is the bitter truth. Don't imagine that parliament is immune or other work places are immune to it. It is time that India stood up and said 'Me Too'," said Ms Chowdhary, whose Rajya Sabha term ended last month.

At a press conference later, she likened the concept to a woman's "privileges" being taken away for personal benefits.

"Casting couch is taking away privileges from women and using it for your personal benefit or in lieu of any compensation. My dignity as a woman was taken away in parliament, when PM spoke in a derogatory way," she said.

Saroj Khan, dance trainer to generations of leading ladies, stunned everyone at a press conference in Mumbai today with her comment describing sexual demands in exchange for work as "age-old".

"Tum film industry ke peeche kyun pade ho? Woh kam se kam roti toh deti hai. Rape karke chhod toh nahi deti. (Why are you targeting the film industry? At least, it gives you work and doesn't abandon you)," she said. After outrage, she has apologised.
 
saroj khan ndtv

Saroj Khan apologised for her comments on casting couch. (File)

"Me Too" campaigns were launched after the staggering Harvey Weinstein scandal in which many Hollywood actors and other artistes described the horror of the casting couch in the entertainment industry. The campaigns urged more to come forward and share their stories.

Ms Chowdhary, an outspoken politician, recently raised eyebrows with her comments on rape, borrowing from one of the most iconic dialogues of the Hindi film classic "Sholay".

"No woman goes out these days. These days when girls go out and are raped, they are asked at the police station 'Kitne aadmi they,'" she said, referring to a spurt in reported child rapes and gang-rapes.


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