Actress Shruti Marathe, known for her stint in Marathi films like Asa Mi Tasa Mi and Premasutra, has spoken out about a movie producer’s misconduct with her while she was auditioning for a lead role in a film.

In a post shared on the official Humans of Bombay Instagram page, Shruti opened up about the issue of the casting couch prevailing in the industry, and how she responded to the producer who asked her to compromise for work.

“Once I met a producer who had offered me a lead role. At first, he was professional, but soon he began using the words, ‘compromise’ and ‘one night’. I couldn’t let this slip, so I asked him, ‘If you want me to sleep with you, who are you making the hero sleep with?’ He was stunned.

“I immediately informed others of his behaviour and they asked him to leave the project. All it took was one minute of being fearless — that day,” the post read.

Shruti also recalled how her bikini scene for a Tamil film led to controversy on social media as several people trolled her.

 
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“I’ve been in this industry since I was 16 years old. Over the years I’ve been celebrated in the limelight & shamed behind the camera. People have a misconception that actors lead a comfortable life & always feel good about themselves–that’s not true. Whether we like it or not, whether we feel right or not, we have to be the best versions of ourselves. There are no ‘bad days’. I remember, early on in my career, for a south film, I was asked to wear a bikini–I agreed without thinking twice. Questions like, ‘How are you going to shoot it?’ or ‘Is it required?’ didn’t even cross my mind. I was getting an opportunity to be in a film & that’s all that mattered! Years later when I gained popularity in a Marathi show, people looked me up & stumbled upon the bikini scene. I was trolled for the way I looked & how it was shot. Do you know how much that damages your self-esteem? I put myself out there without any barriers–but I wasn’t accepted; I was objectified. I still continued working as if it didn’t bother me. But I had a dream. I’d worked so hard & was finally moving forward, I wasn’t going to let it go–just because someone else had a problem, they weren’t in my shoes & would never know what it felt like. Slowly, I made myself tougher. Once I met a producer who’d offered me a lead role. At first he was professional, but soon he began using the words, ‘compromise’ & ‘one night’. I couldn’t let this slip so I asked him, ‘If you want me to sleep with you, who are you making the hero sleep with?’ He was stunned. I immediately informed others of his behaviour & they asked him to leave the project. All it took was one minute of being fearless–that day, I didn’t just stand up for me… I stood up for every woman who’s been objectified & judged for simply being who she is; for simply being ambitious. Why should the archaic rules of society & today’s so-called modern world stop me? My clothes don’t define me–my talent does, my hard work does, my success does & I think it’s high time, people realise that.” —– HoB with #FlipOnErosNow brings to you stories of people who have dealt with uncertainties and insecurities that life throws your way and have emerged triumphant

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“People have a misconception that actors lead a comfortable life and always feel good about themselves. That’s not true. Whether we like it or not, whether we feel right or not, we have to be the best versions of ourselves. There are no ‘bad days’.

“I remember early on in my career for a south film, I was asked to wear a bikini. I agreed without thinking twice. Questions like, ‘How are you going to shoot it?’ or ‘Is it required?’ didn’t even cross my mind. I was getting an opportunity to be in a film and that’s all that mattered.

“Years later when I gained popularity in a Marathi show, people looked me up and stumbled upon the bikini scene. I was trolled for the way I looked and how it was shot. Do you know how much that damages your self-esteem? I put myself out there without any barriers, but I wasn’t accepted; I was objectified. I still continued working as if it didn’t bother me.”

India’s #MeToo movement began last year with actress Tanushree Dutta recounting an old allegation against Nana Patekar. It unleashed a series of complaints from different fields.