The casting couch is one of Indian cinema’s most open secrets. Given that male producers, directors and actors have the power to make and break these women’s careers, we routinely hear about stories wherein women were forced to do certain things, if they want to get ahead. In an industry like cinema, a large number of workers, poor regulations and enormous power in the hand of employers, make people take advantage of each other because of this insecurity. If you remember, Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion, illustrated the grisly truth behind the glamorous world of celebrities. Celebrities including, Priyanka Chopra and Vidya Balan have spoken at length about the existence of the casting couch in Bollywood.
Take a look at 10 such actresses who admitted that they were exposed to this horrifying aspect of the film industry.
1. Mamta Patel
Bollywood actress Mamata Patel, who has played a small role in critically acclaimed movie Paan Singh Tomar, accused actor Irrfan Khan of casting couch. However, Irrfan said it was just a desperate attempt by the wannabe actress to get cheap publicity.
She has alleged: “I was aghast to find that her role in Paan Singh Tomar was wrapped up within a couple of days. I wanted to expose this exploitation then, but Irrfan reportedly assured me of post publicity and said he would recommend me for roles in his future projects.”
2. Surveen Chawla
‘Hate Story 2’ actress, Surveen Chawla, has revealed that she was a victim of casting couch. She experienced it in the South Indian film industry.
3. Geetika Tyagi
Actor Geetika Tyagi used a video on a social networking platform to accuse -Jolly LLB- filmmaker Subhash Kapoor of -forcing himself- on her and -dragging her- during a party. The video, posted on YouTube, shows Geetika slapping Subhash and confronting him too. Whether it was a sexual abuse or not was a mystery.
4. Payal Rohatgi
Bollywood actress Payal Rohatgi accused film-maker Dibakar Banerjee, of Love Sex aur Dhokha fame, of trying to take advantage of her in lieu of a role in his upcoming movie. After some days, Payal said she got to know that the role for which she had auditioned went to someone else. This was really one of the well-known couching incidents and received a great deal of publicity.
5. Preeti Jain
She accused filmmaker Madhur Bhandakar of couching her back in 2004. She was arrested in 2005 for hiring a contract killer to execute him. She has alleged that the filmmaker had raped her 16 times between 1999 and 2004 with the promise of casting her in his films.
6. Suchitra Krishnamurthy
She accused the producer of Seksuyul to have couched her in 2009.
7. Paridhi Sharma
Jodha Akbar director was accused of physically abusing her on the sets of the show. Earlier too, Ankita Dubey, had come up with a complaint against the director where she accused him of harassing her.
8. Kalki Koechlin
She said she has witnessed the casting couch a lot of times, but she escaped it everytime.
9. Shilpa Shinde
She accused Bhabhi Ji Ghar Par Hai producer, Sanjay Kohli, accusing him of sexual harassment . She had left the show after the incident.
10. Mamta Kulkarni
She accused that filmmaker Rajkumar Santoshi offered her a role in the film China Gate in return of the physical favour. After she denied it, her role in the film was edited and cut short.