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10 Bollywood Casting Couch Stories That Speak About The Dark Side Of Indian Cinema

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." - Abraham LincolnIt is believed that with great power comes great responsibility. But in some situations, great power even accompanies wrongful acts with it. Yes! I am talking about one of the biggest downsides of the entertainment industry, the Casting Couch, which is a word that strugglers often come across with.But before taking you to the confessions, let me first highlight what does 'Casting Couch' truly means. It is an understatement for the approach in which actors (both men and women) are encouraged to lend sexual favors in negotiation for a role or a big break.Though, when brought in public, many industry executives denied the fact that it exists but these revelations tell a different story.

#1. Radhika Apte

'Parched' actress Radhika Apte recalled the moments when she was offered the role in a Bollywood film but on the condition that she has to sleep with that particular person. Radhika said she laughed it off and said that she would not do such a thing and asked the man to go to hell. But the actress feels generous that she never got into any such situation. Talking about an instance of a South actor trying to get 'flirtatious', she narrated how she turned him down by being rude.Note: We're not blaming the industry here, WittyFeed is just a medium to let the words spoken by people/celebs out in public. Negative elements are a part of every society and it does not define that society.

#2. Ayushmann Khurrana

Ayushmann Khurrana said that while he was working in the television industry, he was asked for sexual courtesies by a casting director. "In fact, I have been through that initially when I was part of the industry. I was a TV anchor, so a casting director directly told me that I would have to do it. So, I told him that if I was not straight, I might have given it a thought, but I can't do it. So yeah, the casting couch exists, but eventually, it's your talent or potential as an actor or performer which would last. You don't need to give in to such stuff," said Ayushmann according to a report by India Today. 

 #3. Kalki Koechlin 

The bold actress, Kalki Koechlin has also experienced casting couch but she managed to avoid the situation. "I must say, of course, it exists! It did try and entangle me in its grip but I am slippery, I always managed to get out of it. The minute I felt uncomfortable, I walked away," she said in an interview according to International Business Times.

#4.  Jackky Bhagnani 

According to The Times Of India, Youngistaan's actor Jackky Bhagnani shared his views on Bollywood casting couch. He said, "The casting couch exists in every industry. People want to know more about films, so it gets publicized. Unfortunately, it exists and it's only practical and sensible to accept it. If you are willing to take shortcuts, it's your call."The man went on to tell him that he has to be “smart and sexy” to get ahead in showbiz. He advised Ranveer to be open to “take and touch”.

#5. Ranveer Singh

In an interview to NDTV, Ranveer revealed how he was invited by a casting director to his home in Andheri. He described the man as "a highly sleazy gentleman" and said the man did not even look at his portfolio.The man went on to tell him that he has to be "smart and sexy" to get ahead in showbiz. He advised Ranveer to be open to “take and touch”."Later I got to know what he was interested in. When I said ‘no’, he was heartbroken like a jilted lover," the actor said. Ranveer said casting couch is a reality in the industry. "I later spoke with other strugglers who said the man had made similar propositions to them."

#6. Tisca Chopra

In August 2016, the Taare Zameen Par actor, Tisca Chopra shared her nightmarish experience with an influential Bollywood director from a time when she was a nobody in the film industry. She had made her debut but had no other offers. So when a famous director approached her she grabbed the opportunity not knowing that working with him would mean agreeing to be his “bed squeeze”.

Watch the actress speaking about the incident

 #7. Payal Rohatgi 

Bollywood actor Payal Rohatgi accused filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee, of Love Sex Aur Dhokha fame, of trying to take advantage of her in lieu of a role in his upcoming movie. According to Payal, she messaged the film-maker to introduce herself as an actor. They became good friends and also ended up speaking about their personal relationship problems. 

"He asked me to meet his casting director. I went for an audition."

"The problem arose when I spoke to Dibakar about giving me a role in his upcoming movie, Shanghai," she said. "He asked me to meet his casting director. I went for an audition. I had to act like a woman who had just received news of her husband’s demise. However, after doing it, I felt heavy at heart. I called Dibakar and narrated it to him. I also called him to my house in the meanwhile."

Dibakar had been to her house earlier...

Payal said, "Dibakar came to my house and commented that I had gained weight. He asked me to lift my shirt and show him my stomach. I didn’t like it. I told him I was in no mood for jokes. But he did not agree. I told him to leave."Payal alleged that Dibakar stopped answering her calls after that. Soon, she got to know that the role for which she had auditioned went to someone else. Payal said that since she did not give in to Dibakar’s demands, she was ousted from the casting process.

 #8. Sameera Reddy

According to DNA India, Sameera Reddy admitted she has gone through various unpleasant experiences in Bollywood. "If I deny having had any bad experiences, I would be lying. Every industry has its downside and so does Bollywood. I have certainly had my share of bad experiences. But I have always managed to maintain my stand and command respect," she said.She adviced, "The casting couch does exist, there is no denying it. I have just one thing to tell girls aspiring to be actresses. Nothing is worth selling your soul," Sameera said.

#9. Surveen Chawla

The Parched actor, Surveen Chawla admitted in July 2016 that she witnessed the casting couch in the film industry in the South. She also claimed that she did not face any such thing in Bollywood however."I feel very great that I have not encountered this (casting couch) here (Bollywood). I have faced this (casting couch) down south and of course, I refused to give into that...Honestly, I can only comment on it if I had encountered it in Bollywood. I don’t know if I should call it sheer luck," Surveen said according to a report by Hindustan Times.

#10. Preeti Jain 

According to Hindustan Times, in July 2004, struggling actor Preeti Jain lodged a complaint against director Madhur Bhandarkar. Jain alleged that Bhandarkar had raped her 16 times between 1999 and 2004, under the pretext of marrying her and casting her in his films. The Supreme Court in 2012 quashed the rape case filed against Bhandarkar by the starlet eight years ago.That's all folks.If you have an interesting story to share, please write to me at guneet@wittyfeed.com