Last year, the expose on Harvey Weinstein where women from the international film fraternity opened up about being sexually harassed while working with the media mogul gave rise to campaigns like Time’s Up and Me Too. More and more women joined in to talk about their ghastly experiences and to extend help to survivors of sexual misconduct within the entertainment industry. But that was Hollywood. In Bollywood, while there have been a few actors who have acknowledged that casting couch does exist, no one has had the guts to give out a name.
And actress Ileana D’Cruz has the perfect reason for why no one in Bollywood would ever speak up. In a recent interview, the actress said, “The fact of the matter is that if an A-list star is accused of something like this, you will require a large number of people to come forward, including A-list actresses and actors, to make a difference… It will take many voices for people to acknowledge that huge stars could have such an ugly side,” she said adding that actors “are worshipped” in India and further went on sharing, “It might sound cowardly, but I do agree that if you speak out about the casting couch, it will end your career,” she said in her chat with Bombay Times.
Actresses like Richa Chadha and Kalki Koechlin have opened up about casting couch in Bollywood but while Richa agreed to give out names only if her “safety and livelihood” was “ensured”, Kalki highlighted how people don’t speak up since “their career is on the line” and when an individual does expose people who ask for sexual favours in return of a job, “they would have to deal with opinions and judgments thrown at them.”
So there now, we have not just one but three women right here who agree that casting couch does exists in the Hindi film industry and laying out reasons of why no one ever speaks about it the way it should be. Let’s hope someday, some actress dares to, even if her job is in line, even if that means being judged and the scenario changes for the future generation to come.