Casting couch is a no hidden secret but an open truth of the entertainment industry now! A number of Indian actresses including Swara Bhaskar, Sunny Leone, Radhika Apte, Harshali Zine, Surveen Chawla, Payal Rohatgi, Kalki Koechlin and many others have shared their stories of exposure to casting couch. In fact, casting couch is one sickness that has plagued the entertainment industry not only in India but across the world. Remember how Harvey Weinstein was accused of this monstrosity by a number of actresses one after the other, including our Indian beauty Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
However, a trend has now started to emerge where we see Bollywood actresses coming forward and talk about issues that must be addressed. Another starlet who has spoken about it is south Indian entertainment industry’s popular actress Sruthi Hariharan.
On January 18, Day 1 of the India Today Conclave South 2018 in Hyderabad, the Kannada actress Sruthi Hariharan shared horrific experiences of her encounter with casting couch. Revealing her story, the actress said:
I have had a casting couch (harassment) experience when I was 18 and on my first Kannada film. It did leave me so scared and petrified that I remember me crying. When I told my dance choreographer about what happened, he told me that if I didn’t know how to handle this, I should leave.
The actress who mostly does Kannada films also revealed that she stopped getting good offers from Tamil film industry after this incident. She further said:
This was 4 years after my first experience. One of the leading producers in Tamil Cinema bought the rights to my Kannada film and offered me the same role in the Tamil remake. He said, and I’m quoting him verbatim, “we are five producers and we will exchange you however we want.” I retorted by saying that I carry a slipper with me in my hand.
After this, rumors of her being a difficult person to work with started doing rounds in the industry. She added:
Many producers who knew this man asked me if I actually said what I said. Since then, I have not received good projects from Tamil. There is still immense under-representation in the film industry today. There are no toilets for women in the sets. Vishaka guidelines and other laws aren’t being followed in the industry. But who do we complain to? The answer to this is for more women to enter cinema, whether as editors, make-up artists or costume designers, doesn’t matter. We are asked to be bubbly, spread sunshine, and be glamorous. What the character does in the film doesn’t matter. However, it is hard to say no to such films because the visibility they give you is immense.
Watch Sruthi speaking about the sickness rampant in the entertainment industry in the video below:
— India Today (@IndiaToday) January 18, 2018
Here is how Twitter responded to the shocking revelation by the actress:
It must be equally true for the male chauvinism genders also they are sitting quiet watching or sitting in audience. This exploitation of strong over weak educated over nnocent has been since Beginning . Forgot expose
of Sanghavi exploited a lady judge??
— Col. S. K Sharma (@SKSharm50408153) January 18, 2018
— Anna Isaac (@anna_isaac) January 19, 2018
@sruthihariharan @pranitasubhash & Been Paul, kudos to you ladies for being a part of an important discussion #SouthConclave18. Time’s definitely up, not just in cinema but in every professional industry. https://t.co/h2sW3P1ead via @IndiaToday #timesup
— Kriti (@krionicles) January 19, 2018
“We stick on to the pride” @sruthihariharan you could not have said it any better. Thanks for voicing out loud. Such a gem of a person.
— Keerthan Appala (@ArsenalKay19) January 19, 2018