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Casting couch incident: “Director asked me to remove clothes and dance in front of them”

There is no hiding from the fact that several actresses in the Indian film industry have been a victim of sexual harassment. Time and again, the actresses have spoken up against casting couch and harassment. Previously, #MeToo movement hit the headlines which exposed some popular names from several professional fields across the country.

With feminism and women empowerment becoming the most-talked subjects, actresses have become more open about prevalent issues. With the MeToo movement encouraging several women to share their ordeal of sexual abuse at the workplace, the film industry is also no exception.

Director asked me to remove clothes and dance in front of them- Tanushree Dutta

Casting couch incident: "Director asked me to remove clothes and dance in front of them"
Credits: Google

After laying the blame on Nana Patekar of sexually harassing her a decade ago on the sets of Horn OK Pleassss movie, Tanushree Dutta had sparked yet another controversy by claiming that her director was not good either. The 34-year-old actor has now revealed that Vivek Agnihotri who is the director of her 2005 film Chocolate: Deep Dark Secrets, had once asked her to remove her clothes in a bid to help co-star Irrfan execute the scene well.

“This guy (Vivek Agnihotri) wanted me to give cues to an actor (Irrfan Khan). It was not even my shot. It was the actor’s close-up and he had to just look at something and give expressions. This director, he told me jao jaake kapde utaar ke naacho, usko cues do,” Tanushree told DNA.

However, Irrfan immediately ignored Agnihotri for his misconduct, said Tanushree. “The actor was horrified. And because he had done some work, he could say something. He just told the director, ‘What are you talking about? I can give my close-up. Mujhe acting aati hai’,” she said.

“…The male actor had to shoot back at the director saying, ‘I don’t need her to take off her coat and dance for me to give facial expressions. This was Irrfan Khan. I really appreciated that he actually spoke up like that because it was his close-up shot. I’m not in the frame.

He had to look at me and give some expressions. Why do I have to dance in front of him for him to give expressions on his close-up shot. This director tells me ‘jao jaake kapde utaar ke naacho’. I was shocked,” Tanushree added.

By chance, Suniel Shetty, who was also a part of the movie and was on set at the time. Seeing this, he came to Tanushree’s rescue. “Suneil Shetty also spoke up. He was also there, he heard it and he got offended by it. He was like, ‘Main aaun kya wahaan cues dene ke liye?’ Yeah of course, there are good people in the industry. Both, Irrfan Khan and Suniel Shetty spoke up. Suneil scolded that guy,” Tanushree said.

Casting couch is something which has been happening behind the scenes and it is not at all a new concept rather it is as old as our civilization. People started noticing it very recently. Several actresses have been a victim of harassment in the Film Industry as well.

The casting couch is a practice of asking sexual favours from a job applicant in exchange for a job in the entertainment industry, especially acting roles. Casting couch originally referred to physical couches in the casting office. This practice is termed illegal in the United States.

Male casting directors, as well as, film producers use the casting couch in a bid to extract sex from ambitious actresses in Hollywood, Bollywood and other segments of the cinema industry.

Written by Krishna Manohar

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