Radhika Apte Speaks Out On Casting Couch
Casting couch has been a subject of debate in and outside Bollywood for a long time. It is well known that it happens and many believe that not enough is done to counter it. Different people have raised their voices on the issue at different times. Hollywood however showed the way in the recent The recent #MeToo social media campaign where celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lawrence, and Uma Thurman came out strong. The #MeToo campaign was a movement against workplace sexual harassment and was a huge success. India was not watching from the sidelines. Many Indian women took up the hashtag and boldly participated in the movement.
More recently, the topic of workplace harassment in Bollywood, known widely as casting couch, came back into discussion when Saroj Khan, the famed choreographer, spoke about it and flared some serious controversy. Saroj Khan’s wordings sound like she was trying to justify casting couch as it “provides employment” to actresses. Unsurprisingly, it attracted severe criticism from all quarters. She said the industry does not “rape and abandon women but also provides livelihood.”
This is what she had to say – “This is going on from ‘baba Adam’s times’, it is not new. Someone or the other always try to take an advantage of a girl. The government does it too, then why are we only behind the film industry? It provides livelihood at least. Does not rape and leave you. It is up to the girl, what she wants to do. If you don’t want to fall into wrong hands, you won’t.”
BBC is now coming up with a documentary on the issue. Actors Radhika Apte, Usha Jadhav, among others have spoken about their experience in the industry in the documentary, a Mid Day report claimed. The documentary is named “Bollywood’s Dark Secret”. The excerpt goes “Bollywood unlike Hollywood hasn’t had a public Metoo moment. But, as Rajini Vaidyanathan discovers, actors and actresses working in the Indian film industry are not immune to sexual abuse and harassment.”
Speaking to BBC for the documentary, Radhika is quoted as saying in the report, “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. The way the women, and the men, of course, came together and decided that as a team we are not going to let this happen, I wish that could happen here.”
Usha also has narrated her personal experience where she was told to sleep with maybe a producer or a director to get work.
The documentary also includes the testimony of an aspiring actress. She describes how she was molested by a man who advised her to “happy to have sex as and, when possible, and embrace your sexuality” if she really wants to work in this industry. She went on to say, “He touched me wherever he wanted, he kissed me wherever he wanted and I was shocked.”
Other unnamed actors have also opened up in the BBC documentary that will be aired on Saturday afternoon, April 28. With a runtime of 20 minutes, the documentary will be shown on BBC World News.
Stay tuned for more write ups on this burning issue, only on Bollywood Red.