The glamour world is not as glam as it looks from the outside. We’re always in awe of the life that our beloved actors lead. So much so that we crave for such a life ourselves. But the saying “Everything that glitters is not gold” proves true in such scenarios. We hear about the struggles one has to go through to make it big in the industry and we know it’s not easy either. The practice of casting couch has come across our ears multiple times.
Do we really believe though that it exists? The following real-life stories will help us decide:
1. Ranveer Singh
Though he is at the top his game currently, Ranveer admits to having been a victim of casting couch in his initial days. In his own words, “Casting couch is a very real thing. I have experienced it first-hand. A director called me to his home in Andheri and said jo smart hai, jo sexy hai, wo aage nikal jaata hai. He didn’t even look at my portfolio and when I said ‘no’ (to his demands), he cried like a jilted lover. Later, I got to know that he does it to everyone.”
2. Ayushmann Khurrana
Ayushmann is an actor of substance in the new age Bollywood. His career graph has grown steadily from being a reality show winner, to a TV anchor and then a lead actor in Bollywood movies. He admitted that during his TV anchor days a director proposed sexual favors in return for a movie break. Recalling the incident, Ayushmann said, “I have been through that (casting couch) initially when I was part of the industry. I was a TV anchor, so a casting director directly told me that I would have to do it. So, I told him that if I was not straight, I might have given it a thought, but I can’t do it. So yeah, the casting couch exists, but eventually, it’s your talent or potential as an actor or performer which would last. You don’t need to give in to such stuff.”
3. Kalki Koechlin
Kalki is surely one of the best combinations of beauty with brains in Bollywood. She is known for speaking her mind and when asked about casting couch she didn’t hold back and said, “And while we are talking about the notorious casting couch, I must say, of course, it exists! It did try and entangle me in its grip but I am slippery, I always managed to get out of it. The minute I felt uncomfortable, I walked away! The crux of the matter is that a bad actor, however much she works her way through the casting couch, will never sustain. She still remains a bad actor! The casting couch is not the answer to any aspiring actor’s route to success.”
4. Tisca Chopra
Tisca Chopra got her break through ‘Taare Zameen Par” and we all loved her in it. Unfortunately, even after making her mark she had to face this evil in the industry. Apparently, a popular director offered her a role and she happily agreed unaware that saying yes to the movie also meant saying yes to being the director’s ‘bed squeeze’. She says she got out of it in a smart and coy way and is thankful for having avoided it.
5. Preeti Jain
The Preeti Jain vs Madhur Bhandarkar case showed us for the first time that casting couch does really exist. Preeti Jain filed a case against the veteran director claiming that he raped her 16 times under the pretext of marrying her and giving her a break in Bollywood.
6. Surveen Chawla
The ‘Parched’ actress said she never faced casting couch in Bollywood but was confronted with it in the south film industry. Narrating the experience, she said, “I’ve never faced such sleazy offers in the Hindi film industry. Maybe I’ve been smart in my dealings, making sure no one gets the wrong signal. This happened in Tamil cinema where I had already auditioned and bagged an important role. This was a very big film and a very important director, who couldn’t speak Hindi. So can you believe the man’s audacity! The director had his friend call and make the offer for me to sleep with the director. The friend told me it would only be until the film was made. I said, thanks but no thanks.”
7. Mamta Kulkarni
Back in the ’90s, during the making of ‘Lajja’ Mamta Kulkarni blamed Rajkumar Santoshi of taking sexual advantage of her in return for being cast in his movie.
8. Aman Varma
A sting operation brought out the ugly side of actor Aman Varma from which is he is still reeling. The tapes also show him in compromising positions with women.
9. Sameera Reddy
Sameera Reddy has been away from Bollywood for some time now and the reason is claimed to be casting couch. A successful actress of the South Indian Cinema now, she said, “If I deny having had any bad experiences, I would be lying. Every industry has its downside, and so does Bollywood. I have certainly had my share of bad experiences. But I have always managed to maintain my stand and command respect.”
10. Shakti Kapoor
The 2005 sting operation caught Shakti Kapoor in its tangles too. A reporter pretended to be a struggling actress and agreed to be couched in exchange for some work in Shakti Kapoor’s movie. Kapoor too was caught in compromising positions with said woman.
These incidents just go on to show that Bollywood’s glamour is shallow and that the reality of casting couch has no boundaries.