With its extravagant parties and flashy lifestyle, Bollywood may like a glamourous industry to be a part of. But, we can assure you that it comes with its own share of problems. With the lopsided power dynamics, cases of sexual assault have been happening in the industry for decades.
Over the years, several #MeToo and casting couch experiences have been shared. It only proves that sexual harassment remains rampant in Bollywood. The only difference is that today, they are openly spoken about as opposed to earlier when it was all hush-hush
Prachi Desai, Ankita Lokhande, Kalki Koechlin and Ayushman Khurana are stars who’ve spoken about their tragic experiences in the past. This time around, telly town actor Kishwer Merchant has shed some light on her casting couch instance.
Recollecting her ordeal of becoming a target of the casting couch Kishwer said that she was asked to ‘sleep with the hero’. In conversation with a leading daily, she opened up and said, “It happened with me when I had gone for a meeting- but just once. My mother was accompanying me. I was told that I’ll have to sleep with the hero. I politely turned down the offer and we left.” The Ek Hasina Thi star further stated that she wouldn’t comment on whether casting couches happen regularly or not. But mentioned that such incidences as such happen in every industry.
We couldn’t help but wonder who the ‘hero’ and the producer were? Kishwer did not reveal any names but said that they were “very big names”.
In the interview, Kishwer was also asked if the horrifying experience had kept her away from movies. To which her reply was, “Nope, I was very focused at work..I was more inclined towards TV. I kept getting work in quality and quantity. All said and done, I am very happy with the way my career shaped up.” Commenting on why she chose to be a part of the television industry, she explained that, “I stuck more to TV because I think it gives you more recognition. Small roles in films serve no purpose.”
Evidently, one’s talent is not enough and it certainly won’t save them from industry bullies. No one should have to experience casting couch ever. Period.
Here’s hoping that B-town becomes a safe and encouraging industry for all.
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