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Zareen Khan Gets Candid About Body Shaming And The Horrors Of The Casting Couch. We Are So Enraged

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I am generally a confident girl. But there are things that shake me up. In college, I had auditioned to become an MC for an event. I genuinely though I had nailed that audition. I wasn’t selected which was fine, but you know what wasn’t? That I wasn’t not selected because they thought I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t selected because they wanted a fairer girl. I was irate. Now imagine that, just at a much bigger magnitude. This is exactly what our celebrities go through, on the daily when netizens, people who don’t know them start passing random comments on their bodies or clothes. And despite people being extremely critical, they still want you. Inevitably, the casting couch comes up. Directors, producers, even their co-stars asking them for sexual favours, many of them losing work if they stand up for themselves. Over the years, we had heard of numerous actors being victims to this and today we have one more, Zareen Khan.

In an interview with PinkVilla, Zareen narrated incident after incident that left us enraged. Zareen Khan started out as a model and was found by Salman Khan, obviously. Ever since she dipped her toes in the industry, she has been compared to Katrina Kaif, it’s unfair, we know, but the similarities are uncanny. She has been continuously slammed for her body weight, for being plumper than the rest of the actresses. She says that since she was playing an 18-century princess, she was asked to put on weight to look plumper but that made her the butt of veiled and unveiled barbs about her body. She also mentions that Vidya Balan put on weight for her role in The Dirty Picture and was praised so much for her performance, which made Zareen question why she was thrashed so bad.

Another extremely interesting point that was talked about was how a few actors go through humiliation at the hands of sexual predators. When Zareen was asked if she had faced something like that, she narrated an incident that left us saying, what the f***. She started out by saying to her there is nothing more important than maintaining her dignity and self-respect and she could never do anything to tarnish that, we really could learn a thing or two from this statement.

When asked what had happened, she recalled an incident where someone called her in on the pretext of rehearsals. That person kept telling her to “let go of her inhibitions” and trying to take advantage of the fact that she was still relatively very new. He offered to rehearse a “kissing scene” with her which she flat out refused to do. Another incident that she narrated took place years later, there was a certain someone who asked her if she wanted to be “more than friends,” he offered to “specifically look into the projects she is getting” if she agreed. She was annoyed and rebuffed his advances but why must women be subjected to this?

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