Isha Koppikar Also Faced The Casting Couch. It Looks Like Any Actress Who Worked In Bollywood In 2000s Faced This!
Hundreds of people on a daily basis flock to Mumbai to try their hand at Bollywood. This is something that has been happening ever since the industry was conceived. As hard as it might be to crack into the industry without prior connections, it is a piece of cake compared to what comes after. Yes, you understood that correctly, I am talking about another horrifying casting couch story that has just come to light. More specifically, Isha Koppikar’s story. After being off the scene for nearly a decade now, she is back, and she isn’t afraid to share her encoutners with the darker side of Bollywood. While we are so proud of her for being totally candid, we can only hope all these stories coming to light signifies a step towards change!
While talking about her experiences in a tell-all interview with Pinkvilla, Isha Koppikar said that she was had been subjected to nepotism, rejected, been through casting couch incidents and stigmatised as an ‘item girl’. She started her journey in the south and then tried her luck in Bollywood, it seems safe to say her journey wasn’t smooth sailing. But then again, the early 2000s wasn’t a good time for any actress.
Also Read: Elli AvrRam Opens About Her Struggles With Sexism, Body Shaming And The Casting Couch And It’s Horrifying
When Isha was asked if she had been propositioned or if anyone had tried to take advantage of her, she revealed that she had a brief encounter with an unnamed superstar who asked to meet her alone. She said, “One producer told me, ‘This film is happening. Call up this actor, you need to be in the good books of actors. So I called him. He’s told me his full timetable. He’s an early morning person and he goes to the gym at this time. He asked me to meet him in between his dubbing and something he was doing. He asked me who I was coming with and I told him I will be coming with my driver. He said, ‘Don’t come with anybody’ that is what spreads rumours. I was not 15 or 16 then. I knew what was happening. So I told him, ‘I am not free tomorrow, I’ll let you know’. “
Also Read: Surveen Chawla Opens Up About The Casting Couch. With So Many Actresses Talking About It, We Hope It’s A Deterrent
Elaborating on that incident, she said that she called up the producer and told him that she should be cast based solely on her talents. She added, “That is what is intimidating for a lot of people. When a woman says no, they can’t take it. And temporarily, you’re written off. I never ended up working with that actor.” She also revealed that she has been touched inappropriately by some secretaries of top actors and that is what made her take up Taekwondo. There aren’t many women who could’ve stood their ground and handled delicate situations like these with as much dignity as Isha did.
Another issue that Isha addressed was her brush with nepotism. She said, “A lot of times I was about to get a role. But someone would call and their daughter or the starlet would get the film. Or if someone is with someone – whether she is his muse or girlfriend, she has got the role. So, I have been hit by nepotism a few times.” She also added that after she did the song Khalaas for Ram Gopal Verma, she was typecast and labeled as an ‘item girl’ for the longest time.
This is what lies at the core of Bollywood! The more stories like these I become aware of the more I feel it is nothing but a house of cards. These men believe since they are at the top and no one can touch them, so they do what they want without a second thought. Rejecting men like these meant consequences for these actresses, no one cast them, or they only featured in supporting, unimportant roles or their entire role magically disappears from the movie etc etc. Thankfully now, there is a wave of change now that is throwing these men off their high horses and giving actresses a chance to embrace their talents instead of just “looking pretty.”
We can only hope this change continues to spread without hinderances!