Some contend that sexual favours are the brutal reality of entertainment, while others argue that such allegations have hidden intentions and that one can simply “walk away.” So, what really is the truth?
Because of our society’s uneven power dynamic and structure, incidences of sexual harassment are common and often go undetected. Such crimes are motivated by the accused’s sense of authority as a result of their influence over their victim. Similar situations exist in the Bollywood industry, when fresh performers seeking roles are harassed by casting couches who demand sexual favours from them.
Despite the fact that its existence has been denied numerous times, rising awareness and movements such as #metoo create a sense of support, many Bollywood actors have recently acknowledged and discussed their casting couch experiences.
What is a casting couch, and how does it work?
When we say casting couch, we’re referring to a practise that’s common in both Bollywood and Hollywood, in which an aspiring actor is requested to perform sexual favours in exchange for a position in a film. It’s a way for the casting director to misuse his or her position of authority.
One of the toughest realities of show business is the casting couch. Its existence in Bollywood has been acknowledged by a number of Bollywood personalities. While many have claimed to be aware of horrifying casting couch stories, some have admitted to having experienced it firsthand.
5 Actors Who Just Revealed Their Casting Couches
When it comes to exploitation, Bollywood is no exception, and one of those forms of exploitation is casting couches. The following is a list of actors who have lately spoken out about their experiences on the casting couches.
The actor of Kasam Seh, a renowned daily serial, recently described the casting couch she faced when she first entered the field. She revealed in a recent interview that she was solicited for sexual favours in order to get cast and that it was a “huge film,” to which she politely declined. Despite her refusal of the offer, the director contacted her again, but she maintained her position.
Another well-known television personality Ankita Lokhande, who rose to fame for her role as Archana on Pavitra Rishta and made her Bollywood debut in the film Manikarnika, also faced the casting couch. She reported that the first incidence occurred when she was a child. She was asked to ‘compromise’ when she auditioned for a South Indian film, but she was adamant about making it to the final cut. She was explicitly urged to “sleep with the producer,” to which she replied, “I believe your producer wants a girl to sleep with, not a really talented girl to work with.” The producer later apologised, but she made it obvious that she was not interested in the offer.
Kalki Koechlin, who is most known for her quirky parts in films such as Shaitaan, Margarita with a Straw, and That Girl in Yellow Boots, revealed the casting couches in her interviews. She stated that while auditioning for films, a producer asked her out on a date, which she declined and stated that she was seeing someone at the time; after that, she didn’t hear from the production house about the position in the film.
Tisca Chopra, well known for her part in the film Taare Zameen Par, has also starred in a number of short films available on YouTube and OTT platforms. Chopra recently detailed her experience with Bollywood’s iconic “casting couch” in an interview with Kommune India. Tisca, like any other new actor in Bollywood, struggled greatly in her early days. Following the release and subsequent failure of her first film, Chopra recalled how she received an unexpected call from a well-known producer-director.
In Bollywood, not just women but also men are subjected to sexual harassment, as Andhadhundh star Ayushmaan Khurana recently revealed. He is well recognised for films that tackle social stigmas and taboos such as homosexuality, baldness, and gender norms. He’s told a storey about an encounter on the casting couch from his early days in the business. The actor reportedly ‘politely declined the invitation.’
It’s not surprising that a casting couch exists in the Hollywood industry; what’s prevalent is the abuse of power, regardless of the organisation. Several Hollywood actors have also spoken out against the casting couch, confirming its existence in the business.