Take any film industry, where behind all the glitz and glamour associated with it, is the ugly underbelly of ‘casting couch’ sexual exploitation stories. Many actresses, only recently, came together to expose the disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein for his sexually predatory behaviour that has left the film industry shocked all over the world.
Hollywood aside, there are many casting couch stories from Bollywood and other Indian film industry outlets that have been reported from time to time.
The latest actor to come out with her story about the infamous casting couch is the Marathi actress Harshali Zine. In an interview with Times Now, the actress who has made her mark in Hindi serials said how she had to be cautious and twice as vigilant during all the meetings and auditions scheduled after evening and held mostly at either the producers’ house or in hotels. However, the shocker was when she received a message on WhatsApp, sent by a famous producer whom she did not name, asking her to “meet” him in person.
Needless to say, this incident shocked her to such an extent that she did not know what to do. This was more because the producer in question is apparently a famous person who has connection with politicians. She understood that one wrong step and she was finished.
So, all Harshali could do was answer in affirmation. Thereafter, started her horrendous journey. She would be called mostly after midnight, asking to wear dresses of his choices and fancies. And when one day she mustered all her courage to ask what he wants, he was absolutely clear in his thoughts – they were doing a drama production and she could bag the titular role, only if she “compromises” with him.
That was it; according to Harshali, she never met the producer any more.
Only Mallika Dua, daughter of senior journalist Vinod Dua, had disclosed an incident of sexual harassment with her. But we wonder how many people can muster such courage and say NO to a producer or director, knowing pretty well that if she compromises, she could get an entry in the world of glamour and glitz in no time?
Casting couch exploitation is a sexual crime, what would you say? Do let us know about your opinions in the comments section below.