The casting couch, as most everyone should know, has long been claimed to be a stepping stone on the path to success in Bollywood. Mostly, we hear of it as being a way for horny older men to get young aspiring actresses to have sex with them. In a world full of compromises, the casting couch is merely one.
Khalid Mohamed, an entertainment reporter, revealed in his documentary ‘The Big Bollywood Struggle’ what happens to aspiring actors in their struggling days.
As one agent said to Mohamed, “Sex kahin bhi ho sakta hai (Sex can happen anywhere). The scene has changed. Aaj kal to ladkon ki bauchaar hai (Nowadays, it is raining men)!” When asked if that means no one is interested in women anymore, the agent said, “That’s a stupid question.”
“I’m just saying that no one is safe – females or males – from the glad eye. Sex jaari hai (Sex keeps happening),” added the agent.
The reporter then asked a housewife why she was opting to struggle for success in Bollywood after all these years. The question was answered with a stammering reply, “What’s the harm if we earn some money to contribute to the ration paani? Our husbands will be upset initially, but gradually, they’ll understand,” reports Daily Bhaskar.
A middle-aged actress revealed how a production assistant had come to her place for ‘some fun’ before going back to his sleeping parents, wife and dog.
It becomes clear that it is not just younger men and women who are preyed upon. Anyone in the industry can at any time be sexually harassed, no matter how far they’ve come. In an industry that never has a shortage of fresh new faces, perhaps older women are easier to prey upon than younger.
So is there any solution to this problem? Not really. Though we may feel bad about the existence of the casting couch, those who end up on it choose to do so. Like everyone else, they make their choices and they’ll have to live with them.