Will Bollywood please stand up?

Feb 28, 2014, 07:56 IST | MiDDAY Correspondent

Yesterday, we ran a front-page report about what the paper itself said is Bollywood’s worst-kept secret

Yesterday, we ran a front-page report about what the paper itself said is Bollywood’s worst-kept secret. The casting couch reared its head once again, when two young women reporters, part of a sting operation, decided to approach casting agents for film roles.

The report, headlined, ‘Sex Today, Film Role Tomorrow’ speaks about how the casting agents openly soliticited sexual favours either for themselves or their ‘clients’ some who they stated were rich enough to get the girls tickets to go overseas or give them whatever they wanted.

Let us throw the casting couch out of the window in Bollywood. The attitude that this is something that is expected has to change. It should no longer come with the territory.

B-town needs to get on board
The industry’s biggest names, with their influence, money power, ability to change attitudes, must now endorse the no-casting-couch philosophy with fierce determination. The attitude of everybody goes through it, so did we, is toxic. It is time to take a stand against those exploiting the desperate. Sexual humiliation can never be forgotten by the victims. That is why even verbal molestation hurts so deeply and stays with the victim for as long as one lives.

Sexual exploitation gives rise to vengeful individuals, who may be determined to get their own back if they ever are in a position of power. It is soul-sapping, degrading and reduces the person to depression, annihilating self-esteem and giving rise to feelings of rage and overpowering shame.

It is time the industry starts talking about this dark secret, which should no longer be swept under the carpet. Talk about it at the awards functions, where everything is supposed to be about mirth and celebrations. Stir the conscience of these beautiful men and women with their six-packs, fluttering eyelashes and pouty lips. Bring up that uncomfortable topic with stridency and so much regularity that they cannot ignore it any longer and are forced into action.

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