Mumbai: Casting Couch has once again become the hot topic of discussion, thanks to veteran choreographer Saroj Khan’s recent comments defending the prevalence of the practise in Bollywood. Though, she had to apologise for her statement, it opened up the debate about sexual harassment in the industry once again. Now, Radhika Apte and Marathi actress Usha Jadhav have spoken about the evils of casting couch in a BBC documentary titled Bollywood’s Dark Secret which is to be aired soon.
While Radhika Apte has spoken about casting couch and sexual harassment in Bollywood on several occasions before, in the said documentary, she’ll be seen talking about why those who go through it, choose to remain silent. A MidDay report quoted her as saying in the documentary, “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.” She also added that she hoped that something similar to the way both men and women in Hollywood came together for the #MeToo campaign and decided that they won’t let it happen anymore, happened in India too. In the same documentary, Marathi award winning actress Usha Jadhav too shared shocking details of her own experience with casting couch. She shared that it’s fairly common for the powerful men in the industry to ask for sexual favours. The tabloid further reports that Usha was told to give something in return for the opportunity she had been given. The actress was quoted as saying, “”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.”
Reportedly, a 25-year old aspiring actress also shared startling details of her being molested on a number of occasions after she left her village to pursue a career in Bollywood. The tabloid quoted her as saying in the documentary, “He started telling me that for an actress, you should be happy to have sex as and, when possible, and embrace your sexuality…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.”
The documentary Bollywood’s Dark Secret is to be aired across the globe this Saturday and Sunday.