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mid-day Impact: Artistes' body takes on sex-for-role casting agents after our report

CINTAA writes to Bollywood producers urging them to work only with reputed casting coordinators

A few days after mid-day broke a story on the casting couch in Bollywood and followed it with another story on fake auditions being conducted under the name of Shah Rukh Khan’s company, Red Chillies Entertainment, the Cine and Television Artistes Association (CINTAA) has decided to take up the issue with the film producers’ body.

Casting agent Vijay Rawal (right) advised a mid-day reporter to compromise her way ahead in Bollywood. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Casting agent Vijay Rawal (right) advised a mid-day reporter to compromise her way ahead in Bollywood. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Dharmesh Tiwari, general secretary of CINTAA, tells mid-day, “We are sending letters to all four producers’ bodies: Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA), Indian Film and Television Producers Council (IFTPC), The Film and Television Producers Guild (TFTPG) and Western India Film Producers Association (WIFPA). We want to tackle the menace of fake auditions immediately.”

mid-day’s sting operation on Bollywood’s casting couch appeared in the issue dated February 27
mid-day’s sting operation on Bollywood’s casting couch appeared in the issue dated February 27

Tiwari says that they want artistes to come forward and lodge complaints against erring coordinators, who ask for sexual favours or money in exchange for roles. He says, “In the past, we have taken action against such people. For instance, there was a coordinator by the name of Aryan, who molested a lady member of CINTAA, all the while promising her a role in a TV serial. As soon as this incident was reported to us, we got him arrested.”

Referring to mid-day’s sting operation, he says that such coordinators bring a bad name to the industry. “CINTAA does not recognise such coordinators and we don’t want producers to work with any dubious names. Often, these so-called co-ordinators even extort 25 per cent commission from unassuming artistes. We at CINTAA have now started auditioning artistes in our office and have dispatched CDs to production houses, but nobody seems to have taken us seriously.”

He points out that the CINTAA website currently carries profiles of around 800 artistes and that producers can choose their cast directly. “Producers should send us names of bona fide casting agencies; we will then put their names on our website. Moreover, producers can share their cast requirements with CINTAA and we can helm them with the casting process,” he says.

Past instances of fake auditions

>> Anurag Kashyap’s Phantom Films faced problems during the casting for his film, Bombay Velvet, in September last year. A fake audition was apparently carried out citing his name.

>> Casting director Mukesh Chhabra had filed a complaint with the city’s cyber cell after his email account was hacked into and messages were sent out to artistes calling them for auditions. Chhabra had stressed that all casting directors should get themselves registered.

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