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Bollywood’s Casting Couch Exists, Says Radhika Apte, In A Tell-All BBC Documentary

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It looks like the weekend might be a little sleepless for bigwigs from the Bollywood industry. A documentary by BBC called Bollywood’s Dark Secret, which has Usha Jadhav, a Marathi movie actress and Radhika Apte is all set to be aired this weekend. Both the actresses talk openly about being asked for sexual favours to get ahead in the industry, of powerful people who exploit others because they believe they can’t be touched, and the dark underbelly of the movie industry.

When talking about the documentary with Mid-Day, Usha said that she was told to give something in return for the opportunity she had been given. The actress was quoted as saying, “I said something on the lines of, ‘What? I don’t have money.’ He said, ‘No, no, no, no. It’s not about money, it’s about you sleeping with, maybe it can be a producer, maybe it can be a director, it can be both too.”

A 25-year-old aspiring actress also revealed some horrifying incidences. In an excerpt from the documentary, quoted by Mid-day, she says, “He started telling me that for an actress, you should be happy to have sex as and when possible, and embrace your sexuality… He touched me wherever he wanted, he kissed me wherever he wanted and I was shocked. He put his hand inside my clothes so I asked him to stop and he said: Do you know what, if you really want to work in this industry I don’t think you’ve got the right attitude.”

Saroj Khan, the choreographer, recently talked about how the casting couch doesn’t exist and impressed people with her ignorance. While the #MeToo campaign that publicly called out some of the biggest names in Hollywood remains a distant dream, perhaps we have some hope now that actresses are at least willing to talk about it.

It could also mean that these actresses get less work, are relegated to unimportant roles, and much more. This isn’t us being cynical, it is us being real. But our hope is that everyone is able to talk about it, without it affecting their career.

OR…Could we finally be witnessing a change?

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Mansi Shah is the resident humour writer and random conversation starter. Tends to laugh manically at puns. Deeply enjoys the blunt force of sarcasm. Preys on chauvinists and people with incorrect grammar. Hoards makeup and beauty products. Attacks Nutella with vigour.

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